Israel, Lebanon engage in diplomatic battle following escalation of violence
Israel lodged a new complaint with United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan and with the President of the Security Council on the "Hezbollah attacks" on its northern border, Israel Radio reported Tuesday.
Israel's criticism is being pointed at Damascus, who's
ambassador is serving as the current president of the
UN Security Council. The complaint says a "twisted reality has been created in which the country in charge of peace and security in its role at the Security Council is the one violating them".
Israeli officials told Israel Radio that there is no demand at this stage for the Security Council to convene a meeting to discuss the issue.
In the meantime, Lebanon filed a complaint with the five permanent members of the council on Israel's airforce planes violating its airspace.
Lebanon's President Emile Lahoud condemned "Israel's aerial terrorism... part of Israel's moves aiming to destabilise the region."
He said overflights were an almost daily occurrence, in spite of repeated appeals by the United Nations for Israel to end them.
On Monday, Washington called on Israel, Lebanon and Syria to exercise "maximum restraint" following the recent escalation of violence in the area.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell called Israel's Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom to deliver that message as US diplomats in Lebanon and Syria did the same, the US State Department said.
"We've been in contact with the Israelis ... and with the other parties, with Lebanon and Syria, urging them to exercise maximum restraint in order to avoid further escalation," deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said.
"We're calling on all countries to exercise restraint in this matter," he told reporters, saying that Lebanon and Syria had to act against Hezbollah.
"We've been in touch with everybody there, but Syria and Lebanon need to exercise control," Reeker said.
"It remains in the interest of both Syria and Lebanon to maintain that calm along the Israel-Lebanon border," he said, declining to comment on the details of Powell's conversation with the Israeli Foreign Minister. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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