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France Offers New UN Resolution on Mideast Crisis

Reuters/ NY Times
Saturday 29 July 2006

United Nations – France has drawn up a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that would call for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Israel and Lebanon and prepare for the deployment of an international force.

The document, distributed to the 15 Security Council members on Saturday and obtained by Reuters, anticipates a draft resolution the United States is planning that would place up to 20,000 peacekeepers along Lebanon’s borders with Israel and with Syria.

On Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will preside over a meeting of possible troop contributors to such a force, which would include the 25-member European Union, which has expressed interest, as well as Turkey and nations now contributing to a U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

Later in the week, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, now in the Middle East, is considering a foreign minister meeting at the United Nations should a resolution be in the offing, U.N. officials said.

President Jacques Chirac of France, whose country has emerged as the potential leader of the force, has said troops could not be sent until there was a ceasefire accompanied by a political deal.

In many respects, the French draft is similar to proposals the United States and Annan have been discussing, except that it calls for an immediate end to the fighting. The United States alone has refused to back such calls, arguing that conditions first had to be ripe for a sustainable ceasefire.

At least 483 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Lebanon in the conflict, and 51 Israelis have died.

In addition to an immediate cessation of hostilities, France, in its draft resolution, outlined the following conditions for a permanent ceasefire:

  • the release of abducted Israeli soldiers and “settlement of issue” of Lebanese prisoners in Israel
  • disarmament of all militia in Lebanon, such as Hizbollah, and the deployment of the Lebanese army along the Israeli-Lebanese border and throughout the country;
  • a buffer zone in southern Lebanon between the Israeli border and the Litani River, free of any armed personnel and weapons, except those of the Beirut government’s security forces and U.N.-mandated international forces
  • Annan, in coordination with regional and international parties, is to help secure agreement in principle from Lebanon and Israel for a political framework on the above ceasefire conditions
  • the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, after fighting has stopped, is to monitor implementation of an agreement and help humanitarian access and the return of the homeless.
  • delineation of international borders in Lebanon, especially the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms area, now part of Syria but claimed by Lebanon. Hizbollah, before the current fighting, has used the Shebaa Farms to justify armed resistance against Israel.
  • The Security Council, after confirmation that Lebanon and Israeli have agreed in principle on a political framework for a sustainable ceasefire, should authorize deployment of an international force to support the Lebanese armed forces.

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This entry was posted on 31 July, 2006 by in Empire, War and Terror, Human Rights, Israel, Lebanon, UN.

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-- Aldous Huxley

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