U.N. worries over Israel-Lebanese tensions

March 12, 2010 at 2:49 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, March 12 (UPI) -- While the Israeli border with Lebanon is stable, both sides could do more to honor their 2006 cease-fire agreements, U.N. officials said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his latest report to the Security Council on Israeli-Lebanese relations said border security was the strongest it has been in years.

"It is the responsibility of the parties to focus on all outstanding issues in order to reach a permanent cease-fire and long-term solution as envisaged" in a 2006 U.N.-brokered agreement, he added.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended a 34-day war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006, calls on Israel to respect Lebanese sovereignty while urging Hezbollah to give up its weapons.

Ban in his report said he was troubled that Israeli military forces "continue" to violate the agreement, creating a "tense" border situation.

U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon said Friday that two Israeli tanks maintained a position near a demilitarized zone near the border with Lebanon.

Lebanon, Ban said, should do more to control the presence of armed groups in Lebanon. Beirut sparked controversy when it adopted a measure in 2009 that lets Hezbollah keep weapons, though lawmakers are still wrangling over the issue.

"As I have stated before, I believe that the disarmament of armed groups should be carried out through a Lebanese-led political process," said Ban.

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