HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Monday, August 21, 2006

U.S. resolution would disarm Hezbollah

UNITED NATIONS - The United States is planning to introduce a new U.N. resolution on disarming Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, but U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said Monday this should not hold up the quick deployment of U.N. peacekeepers.

Bolton said getting an expanded U.N. force on the ground is the most urgent priority because of the fragile cease-fire agreement that came into effect Aug. 14 under U.N. Resolution 1701, which calls for the 2,000-member U.N. force to be expanded to 15,000 troops.

The U.N. says it wants at least 3,500 new troops on the ground in south Lebanon by Aug. 28, but countries that are potential troop contributors have expressed concern about the rules of engagement — and exactly what troops would be required to do, especially regarding the disarming of Hezbollah.

While several Muslim nations have pledged troops to the new force, there have been no major pledges from European countries, which the U.S. wants to ensure that the U.N. contingent is balanced. The European Union has scheduled a meeting Wednesday to discuss possible contributions to the force, known as UNIFIL.

Whether the prospect of a new resolution on disarming Hezbollah could break that impasse remains to be seen. President Bush talked about a new resolution at a news conference in Washington when he was asked whether the United States would demand that U.N. peacekeepers disarm Hezbollah.

"There will be another resolution coming out of the United Nations, giving further instructions to the international force," he said. "First things first is to get the rules of engagement clear so that the force will be robust to help the Lebanese."

"One thing ... for certain is that when this force goes in to help Lebanon Hezbollah won't have that safe haven or that kind of freedom to run in Lebanon's southern border," Bush said.

Asked soon after about a new resolution, Bolton said, "As we've always contemplated, the disarming of Hezbollah, which was not specifically addressed in 1701, would have to be addressed, and that should be coming shortly."

But U.S. officials stressed that there is no new resolution on the drawing board yet.

"It's premature to talk about the timing of a second resolution at this point," said Bolton's spokesman, Richard Grenell. "Our priority right now is to get a robust international force on the ground."

The Security Council received a briefing Monday on the latest situation in Lebanon and efforts by the U.N. peacekeeping department to rapidly put together an expanded force.

Asked how confident he was that the U.N. can come up with the numbers it needs, Bolton replied: "I think it's still a work in progress. I think that's the best I can say. I don't think there's any doubt in our mind of the urgency of the deployment of the full, enhanced UNIFIL as soon as possible."

Bolton stressed that the U.S. "road map" includes full implementation of Resolution 1559 adopted by the Security Council in 2004, which calls for the disarmament of all militias in Lebanon — including Hezbollah.

"So the question of dealing with Hezbollah — or whether they deal with themselves by becoming a real political party instead of a terrorist group — is obviously on the agenda," he said.

Bolton said the initial force "can be deployed now but it's obviously closely linked" to disarming Hezbollah.

"And we want the disarming of Hezbollah to be accomplished rapidly so that the democratically elected government of Lebanon can establish full control over its territory," he said.

Bolton said an expanded force could be deployed and then have its mandate changed later.

Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org