U.S. View on South Lebanon Security

The State Department stressed Wednesday that the problems of security in south Lebanon cannot be solved by extending the authority of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to the Israeli border or by “any resolution passed” by the United Nations Security Council.

State Department deputy spokesman Charles Redman made this point in explaining why the United States abstained Tuesday when the Security Council adopted a resolution calling on Israel to withdraw its troops from south Lebanon and allow UNIFIL to move to the border.

“We believe that stability for south Lebanon and security for Israel’s northern border can only come through measures agreed on by all the parties to the conflict,” Redman said. “The call for the immediate deployment of UNIFIL to the border, in the absence of such measures, is not realistic and will solve none of the underlying problems of instability and lack of central authority which plagues south Lebanon.”

Redman added that UNIFIL has “the potential to contribute significantly” to the two major goals supported by the U.S. — “the return of the effective authority of the Lebanese government to southern Lebanon and the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon.” But he stressed that these goals cannot be achieved by UNIFIL without an agreement first by the parties involved.

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