Asharq al-Awsat, Paris- France and the United States are increasingly at odds on how best to respond UN especial envoy Terje Roed-Larsen”s report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559 on Lebanon which called for the withdrawal of Syrian troops and disarming Lebanese and Palestinian armed groups.
This latest disagreement comes a week after the Council voted unanimously to adopt Resolution 1636 against Syria for its role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on 14th February 2005.
Informed sources in Paris told Asharq al Awsat, “There is a real problem with Larsen’s report” because the Security Council will have to hold a special session to discuss its content which the sources described as “moderate and balanced”.
In the meantime, Washington, Paris and London were engaged in discussions “to decide on a common position” that will simplify negotiations with other Council members.
According to the sources, France and the United States “lacked a common vision and a common agenda but agree on the final goals”, which are the full sovereignty of Lebanon and disarming Hezbollah and the Palestinian groups.
So far, Paris has hesitated to support a draft resolution to follow-up Larsen’s report. The problem, sources informed Asharq al Awsat, “is what to include in the new resolution”.
“Do we include detailed plans on the steps that Hezbollah and the Palestinians need to take and do we incorporate a timeline for the implementation of Resolution 1559? What will be the tools at our disposal to ensure this happens” the sources asked.
So far, France has refused to “put pressure on the Lebanese government” which has demanded time to deal with Hezbollah and the Palestinian groups by way of an internal dialogue. It has also sought to “give precedence to the Mehlis investigation and discover who killed Hariri and try them.”
In the meantime, Meanwhile, Asharq al Awsat has learnt that the US administration was preparing for another strong Security Council resolution calling for the immediate implementation of paragraphs 2 and 3 of Resolution 1559 and the creation of a “follow- up mechanism”. It also hoped to incorporate “stern language against Syria” for its alleged role in threatening Lebanon’s stability.
French diplomatic sources indicated their government was trying to “delay” Washington mentioning the situation on the Iraqi-Syrian border since “it will be discussed” by the Security Council in the upcoming weeks during the discussion on renewing the mandate of the multinational forces in Iraq which will give London and Washigton the chance “to condemn” Damascus’ policies and call on Syria to seal its border in the face of those illegally crossing into Iraq.