UN essentially asks Lebanon to disarm “Hezbollah”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned from the maintenance of Hezbollah of sizeable and sophisticated military capacities and he called on the Lebanese government and Army to take all necessary measures to prevent the Iranian-backed group from possessing arms and to work on making it a civil political party.

Guterres’ demands came in the semi-annual report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559, which was first adopted on September 2, 2004.

It also came amid reports saying the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is looking into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, should soon issue default judgments in the case, which includes indictments against Hezbollah officials and activists.

Diplomats at the Security Council told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday that the United States was not satisfied with the last UN Secretary-General report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 and Hezbollah’s compliance with the arms embargo, prepared by UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis.

A diplomat who lately attended a Security Council meeting where Kubis spoke about his report, told Asharq Al-Awsat that acting US Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen repeatedly criticized the way through which UN reports dealt with the implementation of the arms embargo and with information about the continuous flow of arms into Hezbollah’s hands.

The diplomat believes that Washington does not seek to change or amend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), similar to claims launched by some Lebanese parties.

Instead, the diplomat said, the US demands the effective implementation of Resolution 1701, which stipulates the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani River of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons except those of the Government of Lebanon and UNIFIL.

In the new semi-annual report on Resolution 1559 received by Asharq Al-Awsat, Gueterres emphasized on Lebanon’s commitment to the disassociation policy. He noted that Hezbollah’s engagement in the conflict in Syria is in breach of this policy.

In his report, Guterres welcomed the formation of the new cabinet and he called on President Michel Aoun to develop a national defense strategy capable to address the need to achieve a State monopoly over the possession and use of weapons.