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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Russian Counter Draft on Aleppo: Fighting Terrorism, Cooperation with Syrian Government

The Members of the Security Council were briefed by the Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura and Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief coordinator Stephen O’Brien on 9 August 2016.

The members of the Security Council underscored their strong resolve to combat the terrorist threat faced by Syria by all means in accordance with their obligations under the UN Charter and international law. In this regard they called on all opposition groups to immediately disengage from terrorists, halt supporting them and engaging in their actions and recalled that, according to its counterterrorism resolutions, such support or engagement may lead to further listings under its sanctions regime.

The Members of the UN Security Council reiterate their resolve to address all aspects of the dire humanitarian situation in Syria, which has deteriorated due to the increase in terrorist activities . Members of the Security Council reiterated their call for immediate, unhindered and complete humanitarian access to all areas of Syria, the immediate lifting of all sieges, including to all areas of Aleppo – regardless of the controlling party. As one element of the comprehensive efforts to achieve this, the Members of the Security Council expressed their support for the call of Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O'Brien, that all parties abide by recurring substantial pauses in fighting to ensure sustained humanitarian deliveries via cross line and cross border convoys to Aleppo can commence safely and effectively. 

The members of the Security Council underscored the imperative to ensure the exclusively humanitarian nature of convoys and called to immediately take exhaustive measures in order to prevent foreign terrorist fighters from crossing borders and stop illegal flow of weapons into Syria.

The Members of the Security Council welcomed all initiatives aimed at improving the humanitarian situation in Syria and also stressed that any humanitarian initiative must operate according to humanitarian principles and be led by impartial humanitarian actors acting in close cooperation with the government of the Syrian Arab Republic. Any proposed humanitarian initiatives for civilians to escape the fighting must be guaranteed by all sides and independently implemented and monitored, and all civilians should be guaranteed voluntary, free movement, including the right to choose their route and destination, if they choose to leave. They stressed the need to demilitarize medical facilities, schools and other civilian objects and avoid establishing military positions in populated areas and using civilian population as human shield. Humanitarian aid must be delivered to the population wherever they may be, irrespective of whether they chose to leave or remain in Aleppo.

Тhе members of the Security Council noted with appreciation that warring parties in over 300 locations throughout Syria had signed cease-fire agreements and encouraged all sides in Aleppo to follow the suit.

The members of the security council underlined that any long-term alleviation of the dire humanitarian situation cannot be achieved without lifting unilateral sanctions imposed on the Syrian Arab Republic.

The Members of the Security Council reiterated their support for the Humanitarian Task force of the International Syria Support Group and called on all parties to cooperate with its efforts to ensure immediate, unhindered and complete humanitarian access and the efforts of the ISSG members to revive the Cessation of Hostilities. Members of the Security Council noted that the aforementioned pauses will not apply to offensive or defensive actions against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the Security Council. 

The Members of the Security Council underscored that the situation will continue to deteriorate in the absence of a political solution and reaffirmed its support for a Syrian-led political process facilitated by the United Nations.
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UK draft statement on Aleppo: Truce and immediate access

The Members of the UN Security Council reiterate their resolve to address all aspects of the dire humanitarian situation in Syria, with particular regard to the gravely deteriorating situation in Aleppo. 

The Members of the Security Council reiterated their call for immediate, unhindered and complete humanitarian access to all areas of Syria, the immediate lifting of all sieges, including to all areas of Aleppo – regardless of the controlling party.  As one element of the comprehensive efforts to achieve this, the Members of the Security Council expressed their support for the call of Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O'Brien, that all parties abide by recurring substantial pauses in fighting to ensure sustained humanitarian deliveries via cross line and cross border convoys to Aleppo can commence safely and effectively.

The Members of the Security Council also stressed that any humanitarian initiative must operate according to humanitarian principles and be led by impartial humanitarian actors. Any proposed humanitarian initiatives for civilians to escape the fighting must be guaranteed by all sides and independently implemented and monitored, and all civilians should be guaranteed voluntary, free movement, including the right to choose their route and destination, if they choose to leave. Humanitarian aid must be delivered to the population wherever they may be, irrespective of whether they chose to leave or remain in Aleppo.


The Members of the Security Council reiterated their support for the Humanitarian Task force of the International Syria Support Group and called on all parties to cooperate with its efforts to ensure immediate, unhindered and complete humanitarian access and the efforts of the ISSG members to revive the Cessation of Hostilities. Members of the Security Council noted that the aforementioned pauses will not apply to offensive or defensive actions against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the Security Council.
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Friday, July 22, 2016

Resolution 2298: Destruction of Gaddafi's Chemical Weapons

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:
draft resolution
The Security Council,
Recalling its resolution 1970 (2011) and all its subsequent resolutions on Libya, and support for the Government of National Accord,
Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya,
Recalling the objective of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (the “Chemical Weapons Convention”) to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons,
Recalling Libya’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2004, and the subsequent decisions of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Executive Council concerning the destruction of Libya’s declared chemical weapons, including precursors and notes the need for continued progress in this regard to ensure the complete destruction of Libya’s chemical weapons,
Welcoming the decision EC-M- 52/DEC/CRP.1 of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of 20 July on the “Destruction of Libya’s Remaining Chemical Weapons”,
Noting a letter dated 16 July from the Libyan National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention to the OPCW Director-General informing the Secretariat of the movement of all of its remaining chemical weapons to a storage site in the north of the country, requesting the assistance and support of the Secretariat and States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention in ensuring the destruction of Libya’s remaining category 2 chemical weapons on an expedited basis, and expressing the intent of Libya to cooperate fully with the OPCW,
Recalling the joint announcement, dated 4 February 2014, by Libya and OPCW on the complete destruction of Libya’s category 1 chemical weapons, Determining that the potential for acquisition by non-State actors of chemical weapons in Libya represents a threat to international peace and security,
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1. Endorses the decision EC-M- 52/DEC/CRP.1 of the Executive Council of the OPCW on 20 July requesting the Director-General to assist Libya in developing a modified plan of destruction of Libya’s chemical weapons, that will be considered by the Executive Council, along with recommendations from the Director General for additional measures needed to ensure the expeditious transport, storage and destruction of Libya’s chemical weapons and expressing the Executive Council’s determination to ensure the destruction of Libya’s chemical weapons stockpile in a safe and expeditious manner;
2. Encourages Member States to assist the Government of National Accord in providing support, including personnel, technical expertise, information, equipment, and financial and other resources and assistance, in coordination with the Director-General of the OPCW, to enable the OPCW to implement the elimination of Libya’s category 2 chemical weapons safely and in the soonest practicable timescale;
3. Decides to authorize Member States to acquire, control, transport, transfer and destroy chemical weapons identified by the Director-General of the OPCW, consistent with the objective of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to ensure the elimination of Libya’s chemical weapons stockpile in the soonest and safest manner, with appropriate consultations with the Government of National Accord;
4. Requests the Director-General of the OPCW, through the Secretary- General, to report to the Security Council, on activities related to the implementation of OPCW Executive Council Decision EC-M- 52/DEC/CRP.1 of this resolution on a regular basis until the destruction of the remaining chemical weapons is complete and verified;
5. Reminds Member States of their obligation under Resolution 1540 (2004) that all States shall take and enforce effective measures to establish domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, and reaffirms its decision that Member States shall inform the Security Council immediately of any violation of resolution 1540 including acquisition by non-State actors of chemical weapons, their means of delivery and related materials;
6. Decides to remain seized of the matter.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

UN: Direct interactions between Israeli Army and Syrian opposition in Golan


8 June 2016
Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations 
Disengagement Observer Force for the period from 1 March to 20 May 2016

I. Introduction
1. The present report gives an account of the activities of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) during the past three months, pursuant to the mandate contained in Security Council resolution 350 (1974) and extended in subsequent resolutions, most recently resolution 2257 (2015).

II. Situation in the area and activities of the Force
2. During the reporting period, the ceasefire between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic was maintained, albeit in a continuously volatile environment attributable to the ongoing conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic and notwithstanding a significant number of violations of the Agreement on Disengagement between Israeli and Syrian Forces (Disengagement of Forces Agreement) of 1974, which are set out below. The Syrian Arab Armed Forces and non-State armed opposition groups engaged in exchanges of heavy weapon fire in the area of separation and the area of limitation. Different armed groups, including the listed terrorist group Nusrah Front and the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, which pledged allegiance to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, continued to exchange fire in the UNDOF area of operation. Inside the area of separation, the presence of the Syrian armed forces and military equipment, as well as any other armed personnel and military equipment other than that of UNDOF, is in violation of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement. As underscored by the Security Council in its resolution 2257 (2015), there should be no military activity of any kind in the area of separation.
3. In employing its best efforts to maintain the ceasefire and see that it is scrupulously observed, as prescribed in the Disengagement of Forces Agreement, UNDOF reports all breaches of the ceasefire line. All incidents of firing into the area of separation and across the ceasefire line, as well as the crossing by individuals of the ceasefire line, are violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement. In his regular interaction with both sides, the Force Commander continued to call upon both parties to exercise restraint and prevent any miscalculations that might lead to an escalation of the situation across the ceasefire line.  
4. A number of incidents of note occurred across the ceasefire line in violation of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement. On two occasions, Israel Defense Forces soldiers fired small arms shots at persons carrying out activities close to the ceasefire line on the Bravo side. On 28 February, United Nations personnel at position 80 observed three persons on the Bravo side, close to the ceasefire line, with two of them removing metal poles from the ground. Subsequently, an Israel Defense Forces soldier on foot, approximately 700 metres from United Nations position 80, fired a single shot that impacted close to the third person, who immediately boarded a vehicle and drove off from the location with the other two individuals. On 23 March, United Nations personnel at position 80 also observed an Israel Defense Forces patrol fire two rounds of gunfire in the general direction of three persons working in a field in the area of separation close to the ceasefire line. The three persons immediately left the area in the direction of Rafid village.
5. Crossing of the ceasefire line by civilians, primarily shepherds, from the Bravo side to the Alpha side was observed on an almost daily basis. On a number of occasions on 9, 10 and 28 March and 11 April, United Nations personnel at observation post 54 observed interaction at the Israeli technical fence between the Israel Defense Forces personnel and individuals from the Bravo side, some of whom were armed. The interactions involved vehicles from the Bravo side driving to an Israeli technical fence gate. United Nations personnel at observation post 51 observed, on 20 April, five Israel Defense Forces soldiers escort an unarmed individual to a gate in the Israeli technical fence, which they subsequently opened for the unarmed person to cross from the Alpha side into the area of separation. The individual was then picked up on the Bravo side by a person in a vehicle that drove off towards the village of Ruwayhinah.

Security Council resolution 2292 on Sophia Operation/ Libya

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:
draft resolution

The Security Council,
Recalling the arms embargo on Libya which was imposed, modified and reaffirmed by resolutions 1970 (2011), 1973 (2011), 2009 (2011), 2040 (2012), 2095 (2013), 2144 (2014), 2174 (2014), 2213 (2015), 2214 (2015), and 2278 (2016),
Recalling resolution 2259 (2015) which welcomed the signing of the 17 December 2015 Libyan Political Agreement of Skhirat, Morocco and endorsed the Rome Communiqué of 13 December 2015 to support the Government of National Accord (“GNA”) as the sole legitimate government of Libya, that should be based in Tripoli, reiterating its support for the full implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement, and further expressing its determination in this regard to support the GNA,
Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya,
Reiterating its grave concern at the growing threat of terrorist groups in Libya proclaiming allegiance to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (also known as Da’esh), the growing trend of groups associating themselves with it, as well as the continued presence of other Al-Qaida-linked terrorist groups and individuals operating there, and recalling, in this regard, the obligations under resolution 2253 (2015),
Recalling its resolution 2178 (2014), in particular paragraph 5 of that resolution, and expressing concern that the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to Libya can increase the intensity, duration and complexity of the conflict and pose a serious threat to their States of origin, transit, and travel,
Expressing deep concern at the threat posed by unsecured arms and ammunition in Libya and their proliferation, which undermines stability in Libya and the region, including through their transfer to armed groups in violation of the arms embargo, and underlining the importance of coordinated international support to Libya and the region to address these issues,
Expressing concern that the situation in Libya is exacerbated by the smuggling of illegal arms and related materiel in violation of the arms embargo, underlining its concern at the allegations of violations of the arms embargo by sea, land, or air, and expressing further concern that such arms and related materiel are being used by terrorist groups operating in Libya, including by ISIL,
Welcoming the Vienna Communiqué of 16 May 2016 which recognizes the necessity of enhanced coordination efforts between the legitimate Libyan military and security forces, urges them to work quickly to implement a unified command in accordance with the Libyan Political Agreement to coordinate in the fight against Da’esh and UN-designated terrorist groups in Libyan territory, and underlines that the GNA has voiced its intention to submit appropriate arms embargo exemption requests to the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) (“the Committee”) to procure necessary lethal arms and materiel to counter UN-designated terrorist groups and to combat Da’esh throughout Libya,
Recalling that international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982, sets out the legal framework applicable to activities in the ocean,
Reiterating its request in resolution 2278 (2016) to the GNA to appoint a focal point to brief the Committee at its request and provide information relevant to the Committee’s work on the structure of the security forces under its control, consolidated procurement procedures, the infrastructure in place to ensure the safe storage, registration, maintenance and distribution of military equipment by the Government security forces, and training needs, and emphasizes the importance of the GNA exercising control over and safely storing arms, with the support of the international community,
Affirming that the GNA may submit exemption requests under paragraph 8 of resolution 2174 (2014) for the supply, sale or transfer of arms and related materiel, including related ammunition and spare parts, for use by the national security forces under its control to, inter alia, combat ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, also known as Da’esh), groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIL, Ansar Al Sharia, and other groups associated with Al-Qaida operating in Libya, and calls upon the Committee established pursuant to paragraph 24 of resolution 1970 (2011) to consider expeditiously such requests in accordance with its rules and procedures,
Affirming that, pursuant to paragraph 10 of resolution 2095 (2013), the supplies of non-lethal military equipment and the provision of any technical assistance, training or financial assistance, when intended solely for security or disarmament assistance to the GNA and the national security forces under its control, shall be exempt from prior notification to and approval by the Committee,
Taking note of the final report of the Panel of Experts S/2016/209 established by paragraph 24 of resolution 1973 (2011) and modified by resolution 2040 (2012) submitted pursuant to paragraph 24 (d) of resolution 2213 (2015), and the findings and recommendations contained therein, in particular the Panel’s report of regular violations of the arms embargo despite reinforcement of the measures,
Taking note of the decision of the Council of the European Union on 23 May 2016 to extend the mandate of EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia by one year and to add further supporting tasks to its mandate, including the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya,
Mindful of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security under the Charter of the United Nations,
Reaffirming its determination that terrorism, in all forms and manifestations, constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and security,
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
1. Condemns the flows of arms and related materiel transferred to or from Libya in violation of the arms embargo, including to ISIL and other terrorist groups in Libya;
2. Urges Member States to combat by all means, in accordance with their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts;
3. Decides, with a view to addressing the threat posed by unsecured arms and ammunitions in Libya and their proliferation, to authorize, in these exceptional and specific circumstances for a period of 12 months from the date of this resolution Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, with appropriate consultations with the GNA, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo on Libya, to inspect, without undue delay, on the high seas off the coast of Libya, vessels bound to or from Libya which they have reasonable grounds to believe are carrying arms or related materiel to or from Libya, directly or indirectly, in violation of paragraphs 9 or 10 of resolution 1970 (2011), as modified by paragraph 13 of 2009 (2011), paragraphs 9 and 10 of 2095 (2013) and paragraph 8 of 2174 (2014), provided that those Member States make good-faith efforts to first seek the consent of the vessel’s flag State prior to any inspections pursuant to this paragraph, and calls upon all flag States of above-mentioned vessels to cooperate with such inspections;
4. Authorizes Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, conducting inspections pursuant to paragraph 3, to use all measures commensurate to the specific circumstances to carry out such inspections, in full compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable, and urges Member States conducting such inspections to do so without causing undue delay to or undue interference with the exercise of freedom of navigation;
5. Authorizes all Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, to, and decides that all such Member States shall, upon discovery of items prohibited by paragraph 9 or 10 of resolution 1970, as modified by paragraph 13 of 2009 (2011), paragraphs 9 and 10 of 2095 (2013), and paragraph 8 of resolution 2174 (2014), seize and dispose (such as through destruction, rendering inoperable, storage or transferring to a State other than the originating or destination States for disposal) of such items, further reaffirms its decision that all Member States shall cooperate in such efforts, authorizes Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, to collect evidence directly related to the carriage of such items in the course of such inspections, and urges Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, to avoid causing harm to the marine environment or to the safety of navigation;
6. Affirms that the authorizations provided by paragraph 3, 4 and 5 of this resolution apply only with respect to inspections carried out by warships and ships owned or operated and duly authorized by a State and used only on government non-commercial service, and which are clearly marked and identifiable as such;
7. Underscores that these authorizations do not apply with respect to vessels entitled to sovereign immunity under international law;
8. Affirms that the authorisation provided for in paragraph 4 includes the authority to divert vessels and their crews to a suitable port to facilitate such disposal, with the consent of the port State, affirms further that the authorization in paragraph 4 includes the authority to use, all measures commensurate to the specific circumstances, in full compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable, to seize items set out in paragraph 3 in the course of inspections;
9. Affirms that the authorizations provided in this resolution apply only with respect to the smuggling of illegal arms and related materiel on the high seas off the coast of Libya and shall not affect the rights or obligations or responsibilities of Member States under international law, including any rights or obligations under UNCLOS, including the general principle of exclusive jurisdiction of a Flag State over its vessels on the high seas, with respect to any other situation, underscores in particular that this resolution shall not be considered as establishing customary international law;
10. Decides that when any Member State, acting nationally or through regional organizations, undertakes an inspection pursuant to paragraph 3 of this resolution, it or the regional organization through which it is acting shall submit promptly an initial written report to the Committee containing, in particular, explanation of the grounds for the inspection, the efforts made to seek the consent of the vessel’s Flag state, the results of such inspection, and whether or not cooperation was provided, and, if prohibited items for transfer are found, further requires such Member State or regional organization submit to the Committee, at a later stage, a subsequent written report containing relevant details on the inspection, seizure, and disposal, and relevant details of the transfer, including a description of the items, their origin and intended destination, if this information is not in the initial report; and requests the Committee to notify the flag State of the inspected vessel that an inspection has been undertaken, notes the prerogative of any Member State to write to the Committee concerning the implementation of any aspect of this resolution, and further encourages the Panel of Experts to share relevant information with Member States operating under the authorization set out in this resolution;
11. Encourages Member States and the GNA to share relevant information with the Committee, and with those Member States and regional organizations acting under the authorisations set out in this resolution;
12. Requests the Secretary-General to provide, with input from CTED, in close collaboration with the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, as well as the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1973, a report, in 
30 days, on the threat posed to Libya and neighbouring countries, including off the coast of Libya, by Foreign Terrorist Fighters recruited by or joining the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Qaida, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities;
 13. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Larsen last briefing to Security Council on 1559: Hezbollah regional acts raise sectarian tension

Briefing on the twenty-third semi-annual report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004)
13 May 2016

Mr. President, everybody, Good Morning
1.                Thank you for this opportunity to address you once again in order to present the semi-annual report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004).  In my briefing, there are three main themes that I will focus on today: first, the Presidency and the overall political situation, including the municipal elections; second, the tensions between Lebanon and some States in the region and their possible impact on Lebanon. Third, I will address the security situation, including in Palestinian refugee camps.

2.                During his visit to Lebanon on 24-25 March, the Secretary-General emphasized these same themes: he reiterated the need for political parties to elect a President to ensure national unity. Further, he emphasized the importance of continued support to Lebanon as it faces the impact of the crisis in Syria. 

Mr. President,
3.                 As you are well aware, and as this Council emphasized again most recently on 16 March, there has been no forward movement on the Presidency. The free and fair election of a President of the Republic without external interference is an essential focus of resolution 1559 (2004). In 11 days, it will be two full years that Lebanon has been without a Head of State and Chief of the Armed Forces. The longer that vacuum persists, the greater the pressure on other functioning institutions, particularly the Parliament and the Cabinet.

4.                Despite the hope voiced by some politicians in Lebanon that a solution is in the making, it remains a matter of speculation whether this will materialize in the near future. In that regard, statements indicating that the vacuum will last for a sustained period of time are not helpful. Lebanese politicians must be aware of the risks involved in allowing the vacuum to perpetuate.

5.                The adverse effect of the continued boycott of parliamentary sessions is also well known. Recent efforts by Speaker Berri with the various political forces to hold a legislative session of Parliament are noteworthy.

6.                I again call on Lebanese leaders to set aside their partisan differences to make way for the election of a President. The election is an internal Lebanese affair. It will be important for Lebanese stakeholders to demonstrate their willingness to compromise. The ongoing efforts by the international community to support Lebanon in resolving the presidential vacuum must be built upon.

7.                Prime Minister Salam’s leadership in maintaining the unity of the Cabinet should be commended. Speaker Berri’s successful support to the dialogue between Hizbullah and the Future Movement is laudable. The dialogue could be used as a forum for political actors to generate consensus on presidential candidates, and pave the way to fill the vacuum.

Mr. President,

8.                The municipal elections started in Beirut on 8 May. These are the first ones in six years. It is an important signal that functional channels remain for citizens to exercise their democratic rights. It is positive that these started on time. It is very encouraging that they did take place in a peaceful manner. This is a tribute both to the work of the security forces, and to the responsible behaviour of citizens and political leaders. I hope that elections can continue as planned.

9.                In the now positive atmosphere, I call on Lebanese politicians to keep the momentum going and to turn their eyes to the presidential and the parliamentary elections without further delay.

Mr. President,

10.           Regarding the regional context, the report of the Secretary-General already noted that on 6 March Hizbullah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah publicly stated that his movement had sent personnel to Iraq. The involvement of Hizbullah in conflicts in the region is of serious concern, given the risk that regional sectarian tensions might impact and increase tensions in Lebanon. This comes in addition to Hizbullah’s long claimed engagement in the conflict in Syria and the known risks to Lebanon’s stability resulting from it. I reiterate the importance of the disassociation policy and the Baabda declaration of 2012, and call on all Lebanese stakeholders to abide by it and renew their commitment to its implementation.

11.           In its extraordinary session of 22 February, Prime Minister Salam on behalf of the Lebanese Cabinet renewed the country’s commitment to the disassociation policy, as formulated in the ministerial statement. This statement by the whole Cabinet demonstrates the willingness of Lebanon to preserve its security, sovereignty and territorial integrity as it faces the continued spill-over of the conflict from Syria. However, the statement should lead to implementation where there is a strict connection between words and deeds.

Mr. President,

12.           The tensions between Lebanon and key players in the region have continued since the decisions in March by the League of Arab States and the Gulf Cooperation Council to declare Hizbullah a terrorist organization. On 15 April, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) condemned Hizbullah for “conducting terrorist activities in Syria, Bahrain, Kuwait and Yemen and for supporting terrorist movements and groups undermining the security and stability of OIC member states”. Lebanon expressed reservations to the condemnation. At the same time, Prime Minister Salam clarified and reaffirmed in the clearest possible terms the principles of the disassociation policy and the Baabda declaration.

13.           Domestically, it is essential that the dialogue between Hizbullah and the Future Movement continue so that sectarian tensions along regional lines can be prevented. However, that forum cannot be a substitute for the resumption of the National Dialogue and the implementation of the decisions made there.

Mr. President,

14.           Sustained support to the Lebanese Armed Forces is necessary as it continues to protect Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The role of Lebanese Armed Forces as a multi-confessional and politically independent and effective institution confronting threats to the country’s stability is essential.

15.           I welcome the continued bilateral support to the Lebanese Armed Forces, including the Memorandum of Understanding between Canada, the United Kingdom, and Lebanon. It is a positive sign that in the twenty-sixth session of their dialogue, Hizbullah and the Future Movement agreed on adopting adequate measures to bolster internal stability. They highlighted the obligation to uphold the efforts of the military and security institutions in their work to protect the country and the citizens. That consensus is a testimony to the importance that Lebanese leaders attach to maintaining the country’s security and stability. A similar unity of purpose across sectarian interests would be instrumental in making progress on the Presidency.

16.           Despite the important security achievements yielded by the implementation of the security plans, Lebanon is not immune to terrorist attacks. The 12 November bombing of Burj el-Barajneh, claimed by ISIL, sadly reminded us of this fact. This attack was the deadliest since the end of the Lebanese civil war and demonstrated ISIL’s reach in Lebanon. The event targeted a mostly Shiite area and could have led to further bloodshed through sectarian violence. The responsible reaction of Lebanese politicians in the aftermath of the attack was commendable. It is therefore equally significant that there were no further terrorist attacks during the reporting period. This highlights the impact of existing efforts by security services.

Mr. President,

17.           It is of concern that, according to some Member States and actors on the ground, the logistical capabilities of ISIL and the Nusra front in Lebanon are said to be expanding, mostly in the Palestinian camps. On 12 April, a senior official of the Fatah Movement in the Mieh Mieh camp, Fathi Zaidan, was killed in a car bomb explosion. This triggered concerns that renewed armed clashes between Fatah and Islamist extremist factions such as Fatah el-Islam and Jund al-Sham could take place, in a bid to challenge the hegemony of mainstream Fatah over the camp. This incident, and reports on increasing capabilities of extremist armed elements in Palestinian refugee camps, demonstrate the continued importance of implementing the outstanding provisions of resolution 1559 (2004). This is particularly relevant for the full disarmament and disbanding of all militias. 

18.           On 21 March, UNRWA suspended the implementation of its revised healthcare policy. The Agency entered into a dialogue with Palestinian factions to address changes in its hospitalisation policy, education, the reconstruction of the Nahr el-Bared camp and support to Palestine refugees from Syria. The dialogue is under way.  Protests however have taken place repeatedly in front of the Agency’s offices. According to UNRWA, it is likely that unrest will continue and there is a potential for violence to increase. It is essential that the Government of Lebanon ensure the protection of the Agency and its staff and assets. I call on all concerned to pursue a meaningful and constructive dialogue with UNRWA with a view to resolving the current tensions and allowing a return to the Agency’s normal activities. This situation also demonstrates that the constraints weighing on UNRWA’s funding and its ability to provide its vital relief services to Palestinian refugees may result in security risks. Further to the recent call by the Secretary-General, I appeal to donors to do their utmost to sustain UNRWA and its work as a matter of priority for 2016.

Mr. President,

19.           As regards the situation across the Blue Line, the Secretary-General reported on unhelpful statements by Hizbullah secretary general Nasrallah on both 16 February and 20 March. On 21 April, according to media reports, a senior official from the Israel Defense Forces stated that Hizbullah had developed capabilities that presented unprecedented threats to Israel and that “any future crisis would be a full-scale war” that could generate “devastating damage to Lebanon”. I reiterate the call contained in the Secretary-General’s report on both parties to refrain from provocative rhetoric and to abide by their respective obligations. It is essential that the parties continue to collaborate with UNIFIL and UNSCOL in taking forward their obligations and in preventing an escalation.

20.           Lebanon has continued to be adversely impacted by the spill-over of the conflict in Syria. As stated in the report of the Secretary-General, there were repeated violations of Lebanese sovereignty and territorial integrity on the eastern border during the reporting period. On 28 April, two Islamic State militants, including a senior commander, were killed by the Lebanese Armed Forces in the vicinity of Arsal. This operation showed that threats to Lebanon stability persist and the continued importance of existing efforts to strengthen and reinforce the capacity of the LAF border regiment.

21.           Violations of Lebanese airspace through aerial overflights from Israel continued, as did the occupation of the northern part of the village of Ghajar and an adjacent area north of the Blue Line, in violation of resolutions 1701 (2006) and 1559 (2004).

Mr. President,

22.           The number of refugees from Syria in Lebanon remained stable during the reporting period at over one million. In addition, there are 41,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria. The London conference has demonstrated the sustained support of foreign governments to Lebanon as it responds to the needs of refugees. The Statement of Intent by Lebanon details key priorities for support. This comes in addition to the ongoing emergency and stabilization needs outlined in the 2016 Lebanon Crisis Response Plan. Prime Minister Salam at the London conference emphasized the important humanitarian, economic, and social challenges Lebanon is facing and urged the prompt implementation of the pledges.


23.           Donor countries have already been generous in their support. I welcome the 10 May statement by the co-host donors of the London conference: the United Kingdom, Germany, Kuwait, and Norway. They pledged that they would provide over $550 million this year for Lebanon. This is an encouraging message. I call on other member states to heed this example to support Lebanon as it continues to host the largest per capita number of refugees in the world.


24.           The fruitful joint visit of the Secretary-General, the President of the World Bank and that of the Islamic Bank to Lebanon was an important signal of the commitment of international institutions to the country’s stability. The creative and innovative financing mechanisms feed into the broader efforts at conflict prevention and stabilization.

Mr. President,

25.           The absence of progress on the presidential election could be discouraging. Domestic actors have not yet made the courageous compromises necessary to put an end to the vacuum. High-level international engagement must continue and be sustained.  Lebanon remains under severe humanitarian, economic and social pressures. Preventive efforts have so far been the hallmark of the international community’s approach to Lebanon. This includes the work of the International Support Group for Lebanon, which has contributed significantly to preserving the fragile stability of the country.

Mr. President,

26.           Let me use this opportunity to take stock briefly of the state of play in the implementation of resolution 1559. Undoubtedly, since the resolution was passed in September 2004, a lot has been achieved. In April 2005, the Syrian Arab Republic withdrew its troops and military assets from Lebanon on the basis of the United Nations-mediated security arrangements within the framework of resolution 1559. This was followed by the establishment of full diplomatic relations between both countries in 2009. Presidential and parliamentary elections were conducted freely and fairly in 2008 and 2009, respectively. These landmark events demonstrate the positive and important impact that resolution 1559 has had on the political independence and sovereignty of Lebanon.

27.           At the same time, other provisions of the resolution are not only lagging behind, but the failure to implement them may also erode the progress achieved so far. I have already spoken at length about the presidential vacuum and its negative effect on the ability of Lebanon to make important decisions. The current paralysis undermines the institutions that have proven effective in running the country.

28.           The most outstanding provision of resolution 1559 is the disarmament and disbandment of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias. Since 2004, not only have the militias’ presence and activities continued, but if anything they have expanded. Their growing capabilities are a source of concern. They represent a major and dangerous threat to Lebanon’s sovereignty, stability and political independence. Looking forward, it is essential that all efforts be made to move forward outstanding provisions of the resolution. This is also necessary to preserve the existing achievements.

Mr. President,

29.           This report is the twenty-third I brief the Council on. Having served as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 1559 for the last 12 years, I now wish to devote more time to the work of the International Peace Institute (IPI) – particularly in its partnership with the United Nations. I have asked the Secretary-General to relieve me of my duties as Special Envoy and Under-Secretary-General as of 31 May this year.

30.           I wish to inform you in my last briefing that I remain a strong believer in the independence of the Special Envoy on resolution 1559 from other resolutions. This is all the more necessary given the radically changed political landscape in and around Lebanon compared with the realities on the ground at the time of the inception of 1559. The provisions of the resolution remain ever more valid and important for the political independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Lebanon today.

31.           It has been a privilege serving the Secretary-General, the Security Council, and the world Organization for all this time. I would like to thank this Council for its confidence and consistent support over the last 12 years. I also would like to use this opportunity to thank my staff for their skilful work and their dedication: Fabrice Aidan, Nicola Davies, Dawn Stephens, Aurelie Proust, and Anne-Laure Gilard. Without any exceptions, it has been not only an honour but a real pleasure to work hand in hand with you on the challenges pertaining to the implementation of resolution 1559. These weigh heavily on the future of peace and security for Lebanon and the Lebanese people. I would like to say to all of you that, in my capacity as President of the International Peace Institute, if I can be helpful in advancing the efforts to ensure international peace and security, I will be at your service.
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