New York, Asharq Al-Awsat- Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN secretary general”s special envoy in charge of following up the implementation of Resolution 1559, has called the stand of Hezbollah Secretary General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah in which he strongly criticized the UN envoy”s remarks that "acting as a political party and as a militia are two contradictory things" "constructive and useful" and underlined the need to continue the dialogue on this issue.
The UN envoy said in an interview with "Asharq al-Awsat": "You have to accept from the beginning that you will face some opposition and differences in views. But the important thing is that there is a dialogue." He added that he is encouraging "Hezbollah”s" secretary general "to continue the dialogue on this basis with Lebanese Prime Minister Foud Siniora and other representatives of the Lebanese Government so as to seek the full implementation of Al-Taif accord that is totally in line with the requirements of Resolution 1559." He pointed out that all the parties in Lebanon backed Al-Taif accord.
Asked whether the time is right for pushing for implementing this clause in Resolution 1559 under the current conditions in Lebanon, he said: "We are bound under the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution to present a report every six months. We do not choose the timing. We will return after six months to inform the UNSC of the progress made. During this time, we will back all the various parties, foremost of them the Lebanese Government, to achieve everything that is required of them." Roed-Larsen added: "I do not see any reason for not implementing the clause on disarming and disbanding the Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias because this is stipulated in Al-Taif accord that was approved by everyone."
He was eager to stress that "Lebanon is a UN member and therefore is obligated like all other members to implement any resolution that the UNSC issues." He said: "What the UN Secretariat General does is express the international law that obligates the Lebanese Government to implement the UNSC resolutions. This is not a personal matter that the UN secretary general expresses."
The special UN envoy went to say: "Syria has implemented several of the main clauses in the resolution, as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had promised, foremost of them Syria”s non-interference in any influential way in Lebanon”s parliamentary elections and the withdrawal of its military forces and equipment from Lebanon according to the timetable in addition to the withdrawal of the official intelligence elements." He added in his interview that what has not been implemented so far "is the part that demands from Syria to respect Lebanon”s sovereignty and political independence through the establishment of mutual diplomatic representation and the demarcation of the international border." He pointed out that this issue is causing a problem for the UN in terms of verifying the full Syrian withdrawal due to the ambiguity of the border between Syria and Lebanon in some areas.
Roed-Larsen said that the other basic issue that needs to be resolved concerns "the strong relationship between Syria and some Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias that are operating in Lebanon" and noted that he is expecting Syria to cooperate in implementing this part of the resolution.
The UN envoy stressed that he held "a good dialogue with the Syrian Government on everything that concerns Resolution 1559, though we did not agree on all matters" and expressed his hope that this dialogue would continue. He added that what he sought to achieve from his work to implement the Resolution 1559 clauses was "to give priority to the parliamentary elections and then to the question of the withdrawal of Syria”s forces and intelligence organs from Lebanon. We are now working to confirm that the Lebanese Government is exercising its control on all its territories and acting to disband and disarm the Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias under the terms of the UNSC resolution and also Al-Taif accord."
Roed-Larsen stressed that he is in constant touch "with all the main regional parties in addition to the UNSC members, especially those paying a particular attention to this issue." He underlined the need to work "with all the parties to ensure implementation of the resolution." He refused to comment on the steps that the UNSC might take and said only that he did not notice any objection to what his report said. Regarding the stand of Algeria at the UNSC about the need to close this file, he said that "he is obligated under this resolution to give support to all the concerned parties in order to reach the full implementation of the resolution, which has not been achieved yet. We will therefore continue our work."
On his report”s assertion about the flow of weapons from Syria to Lebanon, the UN envoy said: "No one objected to what we said about the illegal flow of weapons across the border to Lebanon, though the Syrian Government says these are smuggled weapons and do not cross the border with its knowledge or support. There is a flow of weapons into Lebanon from Syria."
Roed-Larsen denied basing any of his own conclusions regarding this issue on any intelligence information from Israel or any other country and asserted, "There were only two sources that we relied on, the Lebanese Government and the Syrian one." He pointed out that there is not an independent monitoring system on the ground "which means we have to rely totally on the information that the Lebanese and Syrian Governments give us." He expressed his hope that all clauses of Resolution 1559 would be implemented "before the date for submitting the next report to the UNSC."