UN: Ruling on Lebanon-Israel Border will Please Neither
The United Nations announced Monday that its cartographers have completed demarcating the line they will use to verify whether Israel's withdrawal complies with Resolution 425 but indicated that both the Lebanese and Israeli governments would be dissatisfied with the ruling, reported the Daily Star.
The surprise announcement by UN special Middle East envoy, Terje Roed-Larsen, came on the eve of a decisive meeting in Baabda Tuesday with the Lebanese president Emile Lahoud and prime minister Salim Hoss, the daily added.
Political sources in Beirut interpreted Larsen's move as an attempt to pile up pressure on the Lebanese leadership ahead of the meeting.
"Our consultations on this matter are now closed," Larsen was quoted as saying in his statement, without elaborating on the findings or on the fate of three areas claimed by Lebanon, which remain under Israeli control.
Hoss told the daily that Larsen telephoned him Monday night to advise him that the line had been drawn.
The premier added, however, that he would not comment on the matter until after the meeting with Lahoud and the UN envoy at Baabda.
A senior political source was quoted as saying that "If the line is defined as per Larsen's statement, then what he did was to draw the line without taking into account Lebanon's reservations."
"This will be a violation of both Resolution 425 as well as the UN secretary-general's report, which clearly stated that Israel must withdraw to the internationally recognized border and not to new lines," he added. "Lebanon government remains committed to full implementation of 425."
In his statement, Larsen said "the United Nations is poised to enter the final stage of the process to confirm whether the withdrawal of Israeli forces complies with Security Council Resolution 425 and the requirements defined in Secretary-General Kofi Annan's May 22nd report to the Security Council," the daily said.
The envoy spoke with Annan and members of the Security Council Monday, while the cartographers met at UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura.
Larsen said that UN cartographers had demarcated the borderline on their maps and promised that the line would be physically marked by Tuesday.
"We have concluded our consultations on this matter. I have informed the governments of Israel and Lebanon accordingly," his statement said. "The UN will complete, by Tuesday, the task of marking relevant portions of the withdrawal line on the ground.
"At this point (the UN can begin) the final process of confirming whether Israel's withdrawal is compliant with Resolution 425 and the Secretary-General's May 22 report can begin," he added.
The statement, released from UN House in Beirut, quoted Larsen as saying that both the Lebanese and Israeli governments have informed him "some segments of the withdrawal line did not conform to how the respective governments define this border."
"The United Nations has repeatedly emphasized that its task under 425 is to identify a line of withdrawal and not to demarcate borders," the statement said.
The envoy also cited Annan's report to the Security Council, which says that to confirm the Israeli withdrawal, the United Nations needs to identify a line conforming to the internationally recognized boundaries of Lebanon based on the best available cartographic and other documentary evidence, the daily added - Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)