UN pressing Syria to fully respect Lebanese sovereignty
UN Security Council Resolution 1680 calls for recognised borders, ambassador exchange and Hizbollah's disarmament.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Demarcating common borders, establishing diplomatic relations, exchanging ambassadors, stopping arms trafficking, cooperating in order to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 1559 insofar as it calls for disbanding armed militias in Lebanon are the steps needed to assert Lebanon's sovereignty according to new UN Security Council Resolution 1680, adopted yesterday by a vote of 13 in favour with 2 abstentions (China and Russia). This, writes Lebanonwire, represents additional pressure on Syria, but for Syrian state-owned news agency SANA, it is "an unprecedented measure in international relations regarding interference in the core of sovereign and bilateral issues for member states to the United Nations [sic]". Damascus, in other words, has rejected it.

The adopted resolution was presented by the US, France and Great Britain. In it the Security Council, "[r]eiterating its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon", noted "with regret that other provisions of resolution 1559 have not yet been fully implemented, namely the disbanding and disarming of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all its territory, the strict respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence of Lebanon, and free and fair presidential elections conducted according to the Lebanese constitutional rules, without foreign interference and influence".

Such measures, according to the resolution, would positively contribute to the stability of the region and for this reason "[s]trongly encourages the Government of Syria to respond positively to the request made by the Government of Lebanon".

The UN document, by welcoming "the decision of the Lebanese national dialogue to disarm Palestinian militias outside refugee camps within six months" and calling for disbanding and disarming "all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias", raises the touchy issue of Hizbollah.

In its background note, the resolution, in a not too veiled reference to Syria and Iran, refers to Secretary-General Kofi Annan's "call on all parties who have the ability to influence Hizbollah and other militias to support the full implementation of the resolution."

"No let up for Syria," comments Beirut daily L'Orient Le Jour, which stresses how the resolution presses Damascus to respond to Beirut's demands.

Al-Jazeera, quoting Nassir Abdul Aziz al-Nasser, Qatar's UN ambassador and a current member of the Security Council, who voted in favour of the resolution, also noted that the latter wanted the resolution to also refer to Israel's frequent violations of Lebanese airspace and sovereignty.

By contrast, the Arab League backed Syria, saying that the resolution represents interference in the internal affairs of the countries involved and a violation of their sovereignty.