Livni and Annan
Photo: Shahar Azran

Livni in UN: Agreement already violated

In meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, foreign minister says fact kidnapped soldiers were not released constitutes violation of Resolution 1701; Annan promises abducted troops' issue is one of his top priorities, says first force of 3,500 troops to be sent to Lebanon within week

WASHINGTON – Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who met with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York on Wednesday evening, said that the fact the abducted Israel Defense Forces soldiers have not been released constitutes a violation of Security Council Resolution 1701.


She added that she expects the international community to work for the troops' immediate release.


Annan responded positively to Livni's proposal that he meet with the families of kidnapped soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. He said that the issue was one of his top priorities and noted that he plans to send a delegation of senior officials to the Middle East, including his special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen, to deal with the issue.


The entire issue appears in the introduction to Resolution 1701, but not in its obligating operative part.


As for the United Nations force meant to deploy in southern Lebanon, Livni noted that Israel expects it to be a force of high quality, with real military capabilities, which will deploy in the field as soon as possible.


"This force should be able to fulfill the Security Council resolution word for word, with the support of the international community," she said, making it clear that "there will be no vacuum in Lebanon.


Livni also stressed that Israel views the implementation of the arms embargo on Lebanon through efficient supervision as essential.


The UN secretary-general agreed that the situation in Lebanon "cannot return to what it was."


Within a week to 10 days, he said, a first force of 3,500 soldiers would be sent to Lebanon. It would be comprised of troops from France, Italy, Spain and other countries.


A committee of the countries planning to send soldiers as part of the force is set to convene in New York on Thursday.


'Time of examination for UN'


Livni met with Annan at a critical point in terms of the ceasefire and the region's future: A moment before the Lebanese army is set to deploy in the south, and while Hizbullah states that it will not disarm and will not withdraw to the north as required.


Israeli officials called on the UN to listen carefully to Hizbullah's recent declaration and enforce the Security Council resolution word for word.


A state official said that "this is a time of examination for the UN and its ability to implement its obligations."


The foreign minister was scheduled to take part in the Security Council meeting on Saturday evening, during which the resolution was approved, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided to "ground" her, and Israel was represented at the crucial meeting by Israel's Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman.


During her visit to New York, Livni also met with Senator Hilary Clinton, US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.


Ronny Sofer contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 08.16.06, 21:43
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