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Ayalon and Williams in Jerusalem
Photo courtesy of Foreign Ministry
Ayalon: Hezbollah testing antiaircraft missiles
Deputy foreign minister meets in Jerusalem with UN special coordinator for Lebanon, warns him Shiite organization getting supplies of advanced weapon systems
Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon met Sunday afternoon with Michael Williams, the United Nations' special coordinator in Lebanon. The two discussed the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War.

 

Ayalon warned that Hezbollah fighters were training in Syria and that the Shiite organization was getting supplies of advanced antiaircraft missile systems.

 

The two officials met for a preplanned meeting, regardless of the remarks made Saturday by Minister Yossi Peled and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's clarifications.

 

The meeting was aimed at reviewing Israel's reservations over the implementation of Resolution 1701 and discussing the transfer of the northern part of the village of Ghajar to the control of UN forces.

 

Ayalon warned Williams, who is responsible for the resolution's implementation, that Hezbollah fighters were testing surface-to-surface missile systems in Syria. He warned against the training of Hezbollah men on air-to-surface systems, which may be deployed in Lebanon in the future.

 

The deputy foreign minister demanded that the UN examine thoroughly the claims that Hezbollah is training and arming itself with modern weapon systems. He asked that the next UN report on Lebanon mention this incident, as well as other serious cases in which Hezbollah weapons were discovered in the country.

 

"There is a serious trend of escalation here on the part of Hezbollah, and the report must reflect this," said Ayalon. He noted that the supervision of the Syrian-Lebanese border was not strict and that the arms smuggling continues.

 

UN rep complains of IAF sorties

Ayalon also told Williams that the responsibility for implementing Resolution 1701 includes halting the smuggling of weapons from Iran and from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

 

"We hope this matter is enforced," he said. "This is the main element and danger for instability in Lebanon. We do no seek an escalation. On the contrary, we think Israel's interest, as well as Syria's and Lebanon's, is to maintain the calm in the north, but in order to do this, the arms smuggling to Hezbollah in Lebanon must be stopped."

 

The UN representative said he plans to promote the implementation of Resolution 1701, but also raised the issue of the Israel Air Force sorties over Lebanon.

 

"I had a very good meeting with the Foreign Ministry Director-General Yossi Gal," he said. "A part of the meeting dealt with Israel's withdrawal from the northern part of the village of Ghajar. We heard ideas and we hope to find solutions for this matter. I welcome Netanyahu's statement, in which he said loud and clear that Israel does not seek a conflict with Lebanon and is working to achieve peace with Arab countries."

 

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