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International Arms Embargo

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of progress towards the implementation of the international arms embargo provided for in UN Security Council Resolution 1701. (93216)

The UK remains committed to the full implementation of all elements of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1701. This resolution included a call on the Government of Lebanon to secure their borders and other entry points to prevent unauthorised entry of arms; and that all states should take measures to prevent the supply to Lebanon of arms by their nationals or from their territory, other than those authorised by the Government of Lebanon or UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

In response to Resolution 1701 the Council of the EU on 15 September adopted a Common Position to give effect to the arms embargo within the EU. We have urged other countries to take comparable measures. The UN Secretary-General has reported that he has received assurances from the Syrian President that Syria will undertake all necessary measures to implement this requirement; and that Syria is willing to assist Lebanon in setting up an effective interdiction regime, and where possible to establish joint border patrols with the Lebanese authorities. Meanwhile, the Lebanese armed forces have advised the UN that some 8,000 Lebanese troops have been deployed along Lebanon’s land border with Syria.

The UK and EU partners are examining what assistance we might provide to the Government of Lebanon in their efforts to secure their borders. Germany has sent a team of experts to Lebanon to advise on possible measures. In September, the Government of Lebanon asked the UN for assistance in securing Lebanon's maritime border. Several countries, including the UK with HMS York, have contributed naval assets to enable an interim naval task force to be deployed. A German naval deployment is currently replacing this interim arrangement.