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UN says Lebanon-Syria border open to smuggling

UN report says Lebanon's border with Syria is porous, as customs officials lack means to intercept smugglers, adds Lebanese Army not trained to stem smuggling; Inspectors recommend cooperation between neighboring countries

The border between Syria and Lebanon is porous, claims a UN report submitted Tuesday to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.  According to the report, checkpoints set up by the Lebanese Army to monitor the border were failing to prevent the smuggling of arms and other goods.

 

According to the report, "the present state of border security is insufficient to prevent smuggling, in particular smuggling of arms, to any significant extent."  The assessment team stated that "not a single on-border or near-border seizure of smuggled arms has been documented."

 

"The procedures used to control arriving vehicles are inadequate," the report stated. "Lack of such standards and the absence of risk analysis/profiling serves to limit the ability of customs officials to target potential smugglers and prevent the smuggling of weapons and explosives or other dangerous items."

 

The report was compiled during an inquiry that lasted from May 27 to June 15 at four operational border crossings, a fifth crossing to be opened in July, Beirut's international airport and its seaport.

 

UN inspectors also concluded that the Lebanese Army was not trained to intercept smugglers and its deployment along the border with Syria was not designed to prevent the smuggling of weapons and other goods.

 

"The lookout points and checkpoints are spread out according to traditional military doctrine and their aim is to provide territorial defense, not check smuggling," read the report.

 

It also recommended close cooperation between the two neighboring countries for a more effective crackdown on smuggling.

 


פרסום ראשון: 06.27.07, 00:29
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