UNITED NATIONS (Sep. 9)
A Security Council resolution calling for an immediate Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon and demanding that Israel “immediately lift all restrictions and obstacles” on the civilian population traveling in south Lebanon was vetoed by the United States Thursday night.
Britain and Holland switched positions shortly before the vote and decided to support the resolution, instead of abstaining, because Lebanon dropped its demand that the Secretary General appoint a fact-finding mission to investigate the situation in south Lebanon. The U.S. veto was the sole dissenting vote in the 15-member Security Council.
Warren Clark, the U.S. delegate in the Council, said his country opposed the resolution because it was “unbalanced” and took “a selective, myopic look at only one part of the problem.” He referred to the fact that the resolution ignored the continued Syrian occupation of other parts of Lebanon and only singled out the south, the region under Israel’s control.
Israel’s delegate, Aryeh Levin, addressing the Council after the vote, charged that the meeting of the Council was a “contrived, counterproductive and unnecessary exercise.” Levin is the acting Israeli UN Ambassador, replacing Yehuda Blum who concluded his term of office two weeks ago.
LEBANON DENOUNCES THE U.S.
Ambassador Rachid Fakhoury of Lebanon expressed regret at the U.S. veto. He said the resolution was “limited to humanitarian aspects.” in Beirut, on Friday, Prime Minister Rashid karami said he had not expected the U.S. to veto the resolution. He denounced the U.S. for doing so and said, “May this modern civilization that is championed by such cheap values be cursed.”
Clark, explaining the U.S. veto, said “we believe it is unreasonable, unrealistic for this Council to address the question of foreign forces in southern Lebanon and the humanitarian and security problems there without dealing with these same problems in all of Lebanon.”
He added that “when this Council is prepared to look at the security and humanitarian problems throughout Lebanon, we will join in that effort, but we cannot be a party to an unbalanced resolution which takes a selective, myopic look at only one part of the problem.”