Photo: Reuters
Kofi Annan
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
Ehud Olmert
Photo: Reuters
Photo: AP
Fouad Siniora
Photo: AP
Annan to Olmert, Siniora: Fulfill your obligations
In letter sent to Israeli, Lebanese prime ministers, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan warns them against occupying additional territory, tells them to refrain from responding to any attacks 'except where clearly required in immediate self-defense'
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned Israel and Lebanon against occupying additional territory and told them to refrain from responding to any attacks "except where clearly required in immediate self-defense."


A copy of a letter that Annan sent to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was obtained Monday by The Associated Press. It set out the UN's expectations of how both sides will fulfill their obligations under the Security Council resolution adopted Friday.


A similar letter was sent to Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.


The resolution called for an end to the war between Israel and Hizbullah militants, and authorized up to 15,000 UN peacekeepers to help

15,000 Lebanese troops take control of south Lebanon, which was under Hizbullah's control, as Israel withdraws. The cessation of hostilities took effect early Monday, the 34th day of fighting that claimed more than 900 lives.


Annan told Israel and Lebanon in the letters sent Sunday that once the cessation of hostilities took effect there must be no firing from the ground, sea or air into the other side's territory or at its forces.


No occupation of additional territory


Lebanon and Israel must immediately inform the United Nations if they have been fired on, with as much detail as possible, "refraining from responding except where clearly required in immediate self-defense," Annan said.


Neither side can occupy — or seek to occupy — any additional territory from the other side, he said.


Under the UN resolution, Hizbullah is required to immediately stop all attacks but Israel is only required to immediately stop "all offensive military operations."


In the case of any firing, Annan said that "the UN undertakes to bring, in an impartial manner, such incidents to the attention of the Security Council as quickly as possible."


Annan also said each side must refrain "from any changes in the strength, composition or disposition of its forces ... unless it notified the UN in advance and the UN in turn is able to inform the other side."


He asked the two leaders to designate a general who would be accessible to the commander of the UN force, known as UNIFIL, French Maj. Gen. Alain Pellegrini. The three generals met Monday morning — just hours after the cessation of hostilities began — at the UN position on the border crossing on the Mediterranean coast at Ras Naqoura.


 new comment
See all talkbacks "Annan to Olmert, Siniora: Fulfill your obligations"
This will delete your current comment