Britain concerned about violations of UN Resolution on Hezbollah, Israel

Politics Materials 7 August 2009 02:29 (UTC +04:00)

Visiting British Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis said on Thursday that Britain was "very concerned" about Hezbollah and Israel's violation of UN Resolution 1701, the Lebanese National News Agency reported.

Arriving in Beirut Wednesday on a two-day visit following a similar trip to Syria as part of a Middle East tour, the British envoy said his country was worried about violations of Resolution 1701, stressing that "Lebanon should seriously continue to implement it", Xinhua reported

"Equally, we are very, very concerned about the rearming of Hezbollah, which we believe to a significant extent that has taken place, which is in contravention of Resolution 1701." said Lewis, who met with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, caretaker Prime Minister Foad Siniora and Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh in Beirut.

Lewis said he had sought assurances that the Lebanese army and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) would prevent the further rearming and the use of military or terrorist means by Shiite armed group Hezbollah.

"We made it very clear to the Israeli government that the air incursions are a breach of Resolution 1701," Lewis said after his talks with Suleiman.

Lewis also expressed his country's readiness to help in Lebanon 's reconstruction, saying that Britain believes political and economic reforms in Lebanon are very important to guarantee a prosperous future.

Siniora asserted that Israel was also violating UN Resolution 1701 in a meeting with Suleiman later on Thursday, but refused to comment on Lewis' words concerning Hezbollah's arsenal, and simply stated it was Lebanon's internal issue.

An ammunition depot exploded on July 14 in a Shiite-dominant village in southern Lebanon, an incident which UNIFIL called a serious violation of UN Resolution 1701, since the resolution abandons any unauthorized arms in the operations area of UNIFIL.

Hezbollah are suspected of owning the ammunition, however, Hezbollah's second in command Sheikh Naim Qassem said later after the explosion that the explosion was set off by old shells collected during and after Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, not a secret arms cache.