Ban: Hezbollah UAV to Israel could risk stability

Fearing retaliation against Beirut, UN sec.-gen. calls on Hezbollah to cease military activities, urges IAF to stop overflights.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 370 (R) (photo credit: Ki Price / Reuters)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 370 (R)
(photo credit: Ki Price / Reuters)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that Hezbollah’s decision to send an unmanned aerial vehicle into Israeli airspace earlier this month could risk stability in Lebanon by prompting Israeli retaliation.
On October 6, Israeli fighter jets shot down an Iranian-made Hezbollah UAV that flew over the Negev and was believed to have been sent to gather intelligence.
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora claimed that the UAV that flew over Israel was sent at Iran’s behest, and that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah did not consult with the Lebanese government before sending the drone.
In a report released Thursday on the status of UN Security Council Resolution 1559, Ban urged Hezbollah to cease any military activities inside or outside of Lebanon, calling Hezbollah’s launch of the drone into Israel “a reckless provocation.”
Resolution 1559, passed in 2004, called on Syria to withdraw its forces from Lebanon. Additionally, it called for the disbanding of all militias and for the extension of the Lebanese government’s control over all Lebanese territory.
Israeli officials have said that given Hezbollah’s participation in the Lebanese government, Jerusalem would consider reacting to any Hezbollah attack on Israel with retaliation against the Lebanese state.
Ban also called on the Israel Air Force to stop its daily flights of fighter jets as well as UAVs over Lebanese airspace.
“These overflights are violations of Lebanese sovereignty,” Ban said. “I have deplored them and demanded that they cease immediately,” he added.