‘Lebanon, Syria have rejected UNSC ruling’
* Annan requests troop withdrawal timetable from Damascus
UNITED NATIONS: Secretary-General Kofi Annan reported that Syria has not pulled its forces out of Lebanon as called for by the UN Security Council, and said he had requested a timetable from Damascus for its “full implementation.”
He said Lebanon also failed to meet a council request to disband and disarm all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias and told the council he had asked Beirut for a similar timetable for its compliance.
“It is time, 14 years after the end of hostilities and four years after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, for all parties concerned to set aside the remaining vestiges of the past,” Annan said Friday in a report to the Security Council. “The withdrawal of foreign forces and the disbandment and disarmament of militias would, with finality, end that sad chapter of Lebanese history,” he said. On Sept 2, the deeply divided council narrowly adopted a resolution introduced by the United States and France calling for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon and the disbanding of militias. It asked Annan to report on compliance in 30 days.
Asked later by reporters if, in the report, he is pushing for a Syrian troop withdrawal, Annan said the resolution “speaks quite clearly on that.” While the resolution sent a strong message to Syria from the United States and key European countries to get out of Lebanon, the final draft dropped a threat “to consider additional measures” if it isn’t implemented.
Annan said Lebanese officials assured him of their intent to disarm all militias, but also informed him that “the fragile security situation in the region, the risk to Lebanon’s stability and the lack of a comprehensive regional peace process would make it difficult to implement the resolution immediately and fully.” ap
Syria and Lebanon must stand against terror, says Israel
UNITED NATIONS: Israeli Labour Party leader Shimon Peres said the government’s timetable for a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza remains unchanged, despite recent violence in which nearly 40 Palestinians and five Israelis were killed. “I think the Security Council has to save Syria from her own ends,” Peres said, responding to a question about a report released by the secretary-general which stated that Lebanon has not complied with a council resolution calling for, among other things, the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country. “Syria cannot continue and be a centre of terror, and Lebanon cannot house the Hezbollah organization,” he told reporters after meeting Annan. “Syria must make a choice. Today, the world, more than it is divided between east and west, north and south, is divided between terror and anti-terror,” said Peres, who has been foreign minister and prime minister of Israel in the past. “The Syrians and the Lebanese must take a clear position” on which camp they belong, he said, stressing that they “cannot be in the two of them.” ap