Qatar nixes UN call to free reservists

Security Council unanimously demands Hizbullah unconditionally release them.

UN security council 298 (photo credit: Channel 1)
UN security council 298
(photo credit: Channel 1)
Following objections from Qatar, the United Nations Security Council decided late Friday to delay the publication of a presidential statement calling for Hizbullah to release captive IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev immediately and without preconditions, Israel Radio reported. The statement, which was approved unanimously by 15 nations, also expressed concern that Hizbullah had not thus far released any information regarding the soldiers' condition. Last week, President Shimon Peres said that Israel's position was that Goldwasser and Regev were still alive. Peres was responding to a report in the Lebanese newspaper An Nahar that one of reservists was dead. "The position of Israel and the IDF is that the reservists are alive and it won't change because of a publication in this or any other Arab newspaper," Peres told new IDF tank recruits. Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has consistently refused to confirm whether Goldwasser and Regev are alive. In response to a statement by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner that he "understood" the soldiers were alive after talks with Hizbullah officials in Paris, Nasrallah said in an interview to Al Jazeera: "The French foreign minister understood that they are alive, but our people do not tend to answer questions of this kind." Nasrallah claimed that he was the sole official authorized to give details in the matter and added that "for every utterance such as this we can receive human compensation, and therefore there is no reason that we would give information for free."