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Syria: Lebanon

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 17 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports the Government have received of the (a) scale and (b) circumstances of the smuggling of weapons from Syria into Southern Lebanon. (179109)

In his most recent report on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1701 in October 2007, the UN Secretary-General reported that arms smuggling across the Syria/Lebanon border was continuing. In particular, the Secretary-General highlighted claims by the Government of Israel that the smuggling of weapons continues from both Iran and from Syria. Israel now claims that Hezbollah has been able to rearm itself to higher levels than before the 2006 conflict and that it now possesses longer-range rockets and new air defence units. Statements by Hezbollah since the conflict appear to confirm Israel's claims that Hezbollah has significantly rearmed. The UK remains seriously concerned by these reports and calls on all countries in the region, including Syria and Iran, to abide by their obligations under UNSCR 1701.

The UK is also taking practical steps to assist the Government of Lebanon to improve border security. The UK is also providing £800,000 worth of training and equipment to a German-led initiative to improve Lebanese border security capacity.