Security Counil Expresses Concern over Situation in South Lebanon

The Security Council, which was asked by Lebanon to discuss the situation in south Lebanon, concluded a brief meeting this morning with a statement expressing “deepest concern” over the growing tension in the area. The statement was read by Security Council President Ambassador Ole Algard of Norway, on behalf of the entire Council.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Yehuda Blum, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency after the Council meeting that today’s statement did not take into account the major causes of tension in south Lebanon.

“So long as the terrorist PLO enjoys complete freedom of movement in Lebanon, so long as the question of southern Lebanon is artificially detached from Lebanon as a whole, so long as the PLO is able to abuse the presence of a United Nations peace-keeping force, there can be no solution to the problems of the area, “the Israeli envoy declared.

In his statement today, Algard said: “On behalf of members of the Security Council, I wish to state that they are following with the deepest concern the significant increase of tension in the area, particularly during the past months, and share the Secretary General’s anxiety of the present situation in which UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) is unable to implement its mandate.” Secretary General Kurt Waldheim expressed concern over the situation in south Lebanon in his April 19 report to the Council.

The statement said that all measures should be taken to implement the deployment of the Lebanese army contingent in south Lebanon, with the final goal of restoring the “Lebanese government’s effective authority over all its territory.” The statement also called for strict measures to ensure the safety of UNIFIL and its headquarters.

The brief Council meeting and the mild statement followed a cease-fire agreement between all the parties involved in hostilities of recent days in south Lebanon. A UN spokesman said today that the cease-fire, which was arranged last night, was “still holding.” He said that it was achieved after “intensive efforts” by the UN, with “Israel Defense Forces, Palestinian elements and the Haddad group,” the latter referring to the Christian militia commander, Maj. Saad Haddad.

Lebanon’s UN Ambassador, Ghassan Tueni, who requested the Council meeting on behalf of his country, charged Israel during a press conference here yesterday, with obstructing the implementation of the Security Council resolution calling for restoring Lebanese authority in south Lebanon. Today’s statement by the Council was reached after private consultations last night and today between the members of the Council.

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