Illegal Lebanon arms may have been Hezbollah's - U.N.

UNITED NATIONS Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:34pm IST

Related Topics

Election 2014

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. peacekeeping chief has said there are signs an illegal weapons stockpile that exploded last week in southern Lebanon belonged to the Lebanese guerrilla movement Hezbollah.

In a speech delivered behind closed doors to the Security Council on Thursday, U.N. peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy also said that some of the people who tried to prevent U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from investigating the site were Hezbollah members dressed in civilian clothes.

"A number of indications suggest that the depot belonged to Hezbollah, and, in contrast to previous discoveries by UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces of weapons and ammunition, that it was not abandoned but, rather, actively maintained," he told the 15-nation council in the speech, obtained by Reuters.

He said the mere presence of such arms south of the Litani River represented a "serious violation of resolution 1701."

Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the 34-day war in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah, banned all unauthorised weapons between the Litani River and the Blue Line, the U.N.-monitored border between Israel and Lebanon.

Hezbollah is backed by Iran and Syria.

The weapons at the site of the explosion were from various countries and included mortars, AK-47s, artillery shells and 122mm rockets, Le Roy said.

ARMS IN 'GOOD ORDER'

"The weapons and ammunition dated from the 1970s to the 1990s and generally appeared to be in good order," he added.

After Le Roy's speech, U.S. Deputy Ambassador Alejandro Wolff joined Israel in accusing Hezbollah of violating the U.N. weapons embargo in southern Lebanon and undermining the efforts of U.N. peacekeepers there.

UNIFIL said last week that peacekeepers had been pelted with stones by a crowd of about 100 Lebanese in the village of Khirbet Selim while trying to investigate the July 14 explosion at the suspected arms dump. Le Roy said the blast site was still being investigated.

A Hezbollah parliamentarian denied on Friday the movement had any role in the disturbances and said it was keen to restore relations between UNIFIL and local people to normal.

"The baseless American accusations are a repetition of the Israeli position and an expression of the U.S. administration's support for continuous Israeli aggression against Lebanon via its violations and spy networks," Hassan Fadlallah told Reuters.

He denied the blast was a violation of resolution 1701, saying it was a one-off accident that involved the explosion of an arms cache that had been in place before the 2006 war.

Fadlallah said the U.N. Security Council had done nothing to stop Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty, including almost daily military flights in breach of 1701.

Israel's U.N. ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, said in a letter to the Security Council that the arms cache that exploded clearly belonged to Hezbollah.

She said the actions of Hezbollah represented "a clear violation of 1701 which gravely endanger the stability in the region ... (and) the local Lebanese population."

(Additional reporting by Laila Bassam in Beirut)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Obama On Tour

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Boat Tragedy

Boat Tragedy

Empty spaces mark Korean school tribute for missing ferry victims.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine forces kill up to five rebels; Russia starts drill near border.  Full Article 

Animal Protection

Animal Protection

China to outlaw eating of protected animal species.  Full Article 

Lost Plane Search

Lost Plane Search

Search for missing Malaysian jet likely to take years - U.S. official.  Full Article 

Chequered Past

Chequered Past

From God.com to photography, Korea ferry founder has diverse interests .  Full Article 

FB Newswire

FB Newswire

Facebook courts journalists with newswire tool.  Full Article 

Mideast Politics

Mideast Politics

Israel suspends peace talks after Palestinian unity bid.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage