After Israel failed to get the mission accomplished and amid world reluctance for the enhanced UNIFIL force to shoulder the burden, the Bush administration is now pressing for a new UN Security Council resolution on disarming the Lebanese resistance group Hizbullah.
"Disarming Hizbullah ... was going to have to be addressed if not in the first resolution , in due course. So that's one of the elements we're working on," US Ambassador John Bolton said in press statements on Monday, August 21, and posted on the State Department website.
"That should be coming shortly…timing here remains critical. There's no question about it."
Bolton went on: "So the question of dealing with Hizbullah, or whether they deal with themselves by becoming a real political party instead of a terrorist group, is obviously on the agenda. But there is no timetable."
The US lists the Lebanese resistance movement, which is a partner in the governing coalition in Lebanon, as a terrorist group.
"As long as Hizbullah fighters remain armed in the south or elsewhere in the country -- whether the arms are visible or are hidden under mattresses -- the international peacekeeping force ... will be vulnerable if Hizbullah orders additional attacks," he claimed.
US President George W. Bush said Monday that Hizbullah would be disarmed only once a "security zone" is created along the volatile Lebanon-Israel border.
Bush, a staunch supporter of Israel, said there would be a fresh UN resolution giving "further instructions to the international force."
He told a news briefing that the Lebanese government "is eventually going to have to deal with Hizbullah."
Security Council Resolution 1701 authorizes the enforcement of the 2,000-strong UNIFIL with additional 13,000 troops to assist the 15,000 army troops Lebanon pledged to deploy in the south.
Bolton said some 70 countries had received draft rules of engagement for the international force on Friday, ruling out other discussions on the rules.
The UN, which wants at least 3,500 new peacekeepers in Lebanon by September 2, said that no country had yet made a comment or asked for a clarification on the proposed rules of engagement.
The new force is allowed to use force to defend itself or civilians and to enforce a buffer zone along the Israeli border, but cannot actively seek out Hizbullah arms caches, according to a 21-page text marked "UN restricted," dated August 18 and obtained by Le Monde.
The French newspaper said Tuesday the rules of engagement contained in the documents also did not allow the force to intercede if hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah flared up again.
Le Monde said a second document -- marked "UN confidential" -- clearly stated that it was up to the Lebanese army to take control of the buffer zone and to "disarm Hizbullah".
Lebanese Defense Minister has made it clear that army troops deployed in the south would not seek to disarm Hizbullah, which has liberated southern Lebanon in 2000 after 18 years of Israeli occupation and inflicted heavy losses on the Israeli military juggernaut during the recent 33-day war.
Source:Islamonline.netGüncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16