U.N. Security Council pressing Syria to establish diplomatic ties with Lebanon
The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution Wednesday pressing Syria to establish diplomatic ties and set its border with Lebanon, which it said would be "a significant step" to asserting Beirut's sovereignty.
The resolution, co-sponsored by the United States, France and Britain, was passed by a vote of 13-0, with Russia and China abstaining. According to the AP, Moscow and Beijing have claimed that the resolution is not needed and would reflect U.N. interference in bilateral Lebanese-Syrian ties.
The resolution said the Security Council "strongly encourages the government of Syria to respond positively to the request made by the government of Lebanon, in line with the agreements of the Lebanese national dialogue, to delineate their common border ... and to establish full diplomatic relations and representation."
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said the Security Council expects Syria "to take this resolution seriously, and we'll see what their response is."
Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad strongly opposed the resolution.
Wednesday's resolution welcomes a recent report by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan that urged Iran as well as Syria to cooperate in trying to restore Lebanon's political independence and disarm militias. Annan's report noted the "close ties, with frequent contacts and regular communication," that Lebanon's Hizbullah guerrillas, who are listed as a terrorist group by the United States, have with Syria and Iran.