Letter urges tougher UNIFIL mandate

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A letter circulating in Congress urges Condoleezza Rice to toughen the U.N. Security Council resolution that ended last summer’s Lebanon war to prevent weapons smuggling.”We ask you to work within the council to give the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) the mandate it needs to stop the illegal movement of arms across the Syrian border,” says the letter to the U.S. secretary of state written in late April by Reps. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Steve Israel (D-N.Y.). “Under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, UNIFIL cannot engage Hezbollah forces transferring arms across the Syrian border without a specific request from the Lebanese Armed Forces. To date, no such requests have been made.” The American Israel Public Affairs Committee strongly backs the letter, which so far has 28 signatories. Resolution 1701 ended the war Hezbollah launched against Israel last year. Israel’s agreement to end the war was predicated in part on an international commitment to keep the terrorist group from rearming.

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