Hezbollah gives green light to Lebanon resolution backing
By Agence France Presse (AFP)
Sunday, August 13, 2006
by Nayla Razzouk
BEIRUT, Aug 12, 2006 (AFP) – The Lebanese government on Saturday approved a UN resolution calling for an end to Israel’s month-old onslaught, after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said his ministers would not stand in the way of the approval.
“The government approved unanimously the UN resolution, despite some reservations,” Finance Minister Jihad Azour told AFP, adding that another cabinet meeting would be held on Sunday to discuss its implementation.
An official source said the “unanimous reservations … came because the resolution did not condemn large-scale Israeli destruction in Lebanon.” “It was also vague about the issues” of the Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails and the Israeli-occupied Shebaa farms, a border area seized by Israel from Syria and now claimed by Lebanon with Damascus’ approval, he said.
The announcement came after Nasrallah said that his guerrilla group would abide by any ceasefire brokered by the United Nations and would not block the approval of the resolution by the government.
“We will not be an obstacle to any decision taken by the Lebanese government. Our government ministers will register reservations on the resolution and some of its terms.” “The resolution is unjust and unfair because it held Hezbollah responsible for starting the aggression,” he said in a televised address on the group’s Al-Manar television channel.
Speaking ahead of the cabinet decision, Nasrallah vowed that his guerrillas will continue to fight as long as Israel occupied Lebanese territory.
But he said “if there is an agreement over a ceasefire through UN chief Kofi Annan, in coordination with Lebanon and the enemy government (of Israel) … the resistance will abide by it by halting hostilities without hesitation.” “When the decision to deploy the army will be taken, the resistance will cooperate and facilitate” the process, he said.
He was referring to the Lebanese government’s decision to deploy the army in the south, once the Israelis pull out of the region, as requested by UN Security Council resolutions.
Prime Minister Fuad Siniora earlier told reporters that “the resolution is in Lebanon’s interest.” “If this resolution proves anything, it shows that the entire world stood by Lebanon,” Siniora said, vowing that “just like Lebanon waged a diplomatic battle during the war, it will continue it in the same rhythm after the war.” He also said Lebanon scored a diplomatic triumph in the adoption of the resolution.
Despite the UN Security Council vote on the resolution Friday, Israel launched an expanded ground offensive deep into southern Lebanon aimed at rooting out Hezbollah militants which it said could last weeks.
But hopes for a more imminent end to hostilities rose as UN officials said they expected an immediate ceasefire once the Lebanese and Israeli governments approve over the weekend the UN resolution calling for a halt to fighting.
The resolution called on Israel and Hezbollah to cease hostilities following a month of fighting that has left more than 1,000 Lebanese and over 120 Israelis dead.
It also called for Israeli forces to withdraw from positions they have occupied in southern Lebanon in parallel with the deployment of Lebanese army units and a robust international military force in the region.
Minister of Communication Marwan Hamadeh told AFP that the Beirut government was “inclined to accept” the UN resolution, warning the measure should not be used as a pretext for continued attacks.
Lebanon succeeded in persuading the council to add a demand for an Israeli troop pullout from the country, once strengthened UN forces and the Lebanese army begin to deploy in the south.
“Lebanon wins battle in Security Council: Complete withdrawal,” said the Al-Liwaa daily, referring to Beirut’s success in including a call for Israel’s troop pullout from Lebanon in the final draft of the resolution.
“Security Council halts hostilities … to pave the way for an end to the war,” read the headline of the leftist As-Safir newspaper.
As-Safir said Israel and its top ally Washington “did not achieve victory in the Security Council” which adopted a number of Lebanese demands in the final version of the resolution.
“The resolution, although it did not meet complete Lebanese demands, … showed a transformation in the region,” it said.-AFP