Israel lauds UN plan to probe Lebanon

UNSC votes to send team to investigate reports of weapons smuggling from Syria.

hizbullah militia 88 298 (photo credit: AP [file])
hizbullah militia 88 298
(photo credit: AP [file])
Jerusalem welcomed the UN Security Council's unanimous decision Tuesday night to send a team to Lebanon to investigate reports of weapons smuggling from Syria. The council expressed "serious concern at mounting information by Israel and another state of illegal movements of arms across the Lebanese-Syrian border in violation of UN [Security Council] Resolution 1701 (that ended the Second Lebanese war)." The wording is seen by Jerusalem as underlining the close cooperation between Israel and the UN on this question. The statement approved by the council also called on Syria to take further measures to reinforce controls at the border. Officials in Jerusalem expressed disappointment that the original draft, which had specifically mentioned Syria and Iran, was amended. The draft that was adopted urged all countries, "especially in the region," to enforce the UN arms embargo. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said the wording in the UN statement on the two IDF reservists kidnapped by Hizbullah, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, was unequivocal, and stronger than in the past. The council noted "with profound concern" that there has been no progress in returning the soldiers. Jerusalem also welcomed the fact that the UN mentioned Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah by name, expressing "deep concern" at statements he has made about arms shipments that "are an open admission of activities which would constitute a violation of UN Resolution 1701. The council's statement also called for all militias in Lebanon to be disarmed. There was criticism of Israel relating to continuing IAF overflights and the use of cluster bombs last summer, but the language was relatively moderate.