I have discussed with my Israeli counterpart the situation in Lebanon. Israel’s concerns about the need for full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1701 are well known. Israel’s Foreign Minister made clear, when visiting the UK on 21 November, that Israel shares the UK view that the democratically elected Government in Lebanon should be able to exercise sole authority throughout the country, and parties in Lebanon should co-operate with the Government to that end.
In a letter to the Security Council dated 1 December, reporting on the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1701, the UN Secretary-General has noted that the military and security situation in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon’s area of operation has further stabilised. The cessation of hostilities continues and there have been no serious incidents or confrontations.
The UN Secretary-General also reported that in parallel with the withdrawal of Israeli forces, Lebanese troops in co-ordination with the UN Interim Force, have deployed throughout the south of Lebanon in areas vacated by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). Liaison and co-ordination between the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, the Lebanese armed forces and the IDF has been very effective in addressing military and security issues.
The Government of Lebanon have a number of important tasks under UN Security Council resolution 1701. Clearly, domestic political stability will be required to continue to carry out these tasks. We have urged all parties in Lebanon to co-operate with the elected Government in seeking the stability that Lebanon needs to secure its future.
The UN Secretary-General, in his letter of 1 December to the Security Council reporting on implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, said that liaison and co-ordination between the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, the Lebanese armed forces and the Israeli Defence Force has been very effective in addressing military and security issues within southern Lebanon. The Lebanese armed forces have confiscated some weapons belonging to Hezbollah.
The informal nature of the coordination group is such that it has no fixed membership. In addition to the UK, the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark and the delegation of the European Commission have attended meetings or asked to be informed of the group's work so as to help them target their own support to Lebanon's security sector. Group members have encouraged participation from other countries—European, non-European and Arab—engaged in or considering assistance to this sector.