Lebanon Ceasefire Resolution Seen Soon

The US and French ambassadors at the United Nations remained locked in talks Friday, August 4, over the wording of a Security Council resolution on halting the fighting in Lebanon amid mounting international frustration over the pace of negotiations.

Lebanon Ceasefire Resolution Seen Soon

There was no indication when the full UN Security Council might vote on a resolution but the council president said the body was ready to meet at any moment and the resolution was expected within days, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The UN Security Council is in "standby mode", according to Ghanaian envoy Nana Effah-Apenteng, the council president for August who organizes its agenda.

"If it happens tomorrow, we will meet. If it happens Sunday we will meet."

United States and France strove to overcome their differences on the draft UN Security Council resolution.

Paris wants existing UN peacekeepers and Lebanon's army to monitor a truce, while Washington wants the Israeli army to stay in southern Lebanon until an international force arrives.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who was due to meet US Assistant Secretary of State David Welch in Beirut later in the day, has said only an expanded UN peacekeeping force to back the Lebanese army is acceptable.

Hizbullah's deputy leader has said his group would not accept a ceasefire that did not include the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Lebanese soil.

"An end of (Israeli) aggression means three things: firstly a ceasefire, secondly the return of those evicted, and third of al the departure of Israel from any land it might have occupied," Naim Kassem, in remarks to Al-Jazeera television.

Kassem said Hizbollah would regard any Israeli troops in Lebanon as occupation forces and would "resist occupation forces" even if there was a ceasefire.

At least 10,000 Israeli troops are now inside Lebanon trying to dislodge Hizbullah fighters from the border and stop them firing rockets into Israel.

Israeli commandos landed Saturday, August 5, in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre early Saturday in a second failed raid aimed at killing Hizbullah leaders and destroying arms of the Lebanese resistance movement.

The Israeli military said eight soldiers were wounded in the Tyre operation -- two of them, including an officer, seriously — when it faced fierce resistance from Hizbullah fighters.

Edging Closer

A diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said the Americans and the French "are trying to work out a solution."

The diplomat said the differences are narrowing. The United States and France "are much closer," Reuters reported.

France's UN ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere said after talks with the United States on Friday: "We're still working on it." US ambassador John Bolton said: "There are still some issues that we have not resolved, but I think we have come a little bit closer."

If an agreement is reached at the weekend, a Security Council vote could be held within 24 hours, officials said.

France's resolution calls for a "cessation of hostilities". US officials say they would rather use a more vague term to describe the fighting.

The French resolution also demands "full respect" of the Blue Line, the unofficial frontier between Israel and Lebanon, by both sides.

It calls for the disarming of Hizbullah and the release of two Israeli soldiers taken prisoner by the resistance group. The text also calls for "the settlement" of a dispute over Lebanese prisoners held by Israel.

The draft calls on Israel to give the United Nations the maps of landmines it has left in southern Lebanon and the implementation of a 1949 armistice agreement between Israel and Lebanon.

Another diplomat said that the two ambassadors were still using the French text as a basis for the negotiation. "The Americans are suggesting amendments," the diplomat told AFP.

But even if outside powers agree, getting the warring parties to accept a ceasefire may not be easy.

Israel's ambassador to the United States said his country would only agree to stop fighting if Hizbullah released the two Israeli soldiers whose July 12 capture sparked the conflict.

Israel's immediate goal is "the unconditional release of the two hostages ... which would constitute the end of hostilities," Ambassador Daniel Ayalon told Reuters in Washington.

Other nations, particularly in the Islamic world, are impatient to see the UN Security Council make an urgent call to end the fighting that has left more than 900 dead in Lebanon and Israel since July 12.

Critics and pundits from the West and the Arab world have said the United States and its chief ally Britain were given a "diplomatic cover" to the bloody Israeli assault on Lebanon and a powerful signal that Israel can continue its attacks with impunity.

The US drew fire for failing to call for an immediate ceasefire and sending weapons and laser-guided bombs to Israel, which helped prolong the war.

Source:Islamonline.net

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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