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Hezbollah

Volume 589: debated on Tuesday 2 December 2014

11. What estimate he has made of the number of rockets in Hezbollah’s arsenal in southern Lebanon which could be deployed against Israel; and what diplomatic efforts his Department is making to seek a reduction in that number. (906378)

We are aware of continued reports of Hezbollah’s arsenal of weapons in southern Lebanon. Those weapons pose a threat to regional security and are in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

Hezbollah’s extensive arsenal contravenes UN Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1701, which call on it to disarm, yet the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon has not stopped the re-arming of Hezbollah and rarely inspects Hezbollah-controlled villages for illicit activity. Given that every Israeli city is now within range of the rockets, will the Minister use his good offices in the UN to ensure that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon has the resources it needs to police southern Lebanon effectively?

My hon. Friend makes an important point. That matter was raised with me during my visit to Israel. We are committed to supporting peace and stability in Lebanon. Since 2012, the UK has been delivering a $31-million programme to train and equip the land border regiments to provide stability. More work needs to be done with the UN and we must ensure that Hezbollah agrees to the UN resolutions.

Lebanon’s position in the middle east is being destabilised by the fact that a quarter of the population is made up of Syrian refugees. The United Nations has called for countries throughout the world to resettle at least 130,000 of those refugees. Why have only 90 been allowed into the United Kingdom?

As has been made clear before, we feel that it is best that refugees are kept closer to the region so that they can return. The whole House should pay tribute to Lebanon for its work in taking 1.2 million refugees, which, as the hon. Gentleman says, is almost a quarter of its population. The UK Government have provided more than £273 million to help with stability in the area and to support refugees there.