Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO
Livni with Frattini on tour
Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO
Hizbullah leader Nasrallah
Photo: Reuters

National Security Cabinet to discuss Hizbullah armament

Barak speaks to French FM, says 'Israel cannot accept continuing transfer of weaponry damaging delicate balance at northern border'; cabinet to meet Wednesday to discuss State's attempts to expand UN's decision 1701

On Wednesday the National Security Cabinet is expected to discuss the gnawing at the UN Resolution 1701, which brought the Second Lebanon War to an end. Summons for the special cabinet meeting, previously postponed several times, have been issued to ministers recently.


During the discussion the ministers will be presented with an assessment of the situation in Lebanon. Security officials will reiterate their reports regarding the armament of Hizbullah with missiles – currently estimated at almost three times the amount present before the war.


Hizbullah's deployment in southern Lebanon will also be surveyed, and security officials in Jerusalem have suggested that Arab press releases be searched for reports similar to that published in a Kuwaiti newspaper a week ago, according to which the organization plans to post anti-aircraft missiles on the peaks of Lebanese mountains.


Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, and stressed that "Israel cannot accept the ongoing and intensifying gnawing at Resolution 1701 that has not been fulfilled, and the continuing transfer of weaponry, which is damaging the delicate balance at the northern border."


The defense minister added that Israel expects the French minister to act towards halting the transfer of weapons from Syria to Hizbullah, and that UNIFIL forces in southern Lebanon should boost activities countering the armament and fortification of Hizbullah.


Israel has recently been increasing efforts aimed at the expansion of UNIFIL's mandate, as per the UN Security Council Resolution 1701.


Livni: Disarm Hizbullah

Earlier on Tuesday Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni toured the north of Israel along with her Italian counterpart, Franco Frattini. During the tour, Livni displayed before Frattini the reality Israel must face when dealing with the border. Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel, who heads the IDF's Planning Branch, explained to the Italian foreign minister about the military ramifications of Hizbullah's armament.


Eshel and Livni stressed that the expansion of UNIFIL's mandate, its personnel, and its weapons may put an end to the disconcerting phenomenon.


"Unfortunately Resolution 1701 was not completed by the Lebanese side and I hope that during the next few days it will be implemented with the return of the kidnapped soldiers," Livni said. "We need to stop the arming of Hizbullah by way of the Syrian border and disarm it. There is currently an opportunity to do so and we mustn't lose it."


Frattini remarked that he was well acquainted with activities at the border, and the significance of the Italian forces stationed there. He promised that his government would continue to assist in maintaining peace at the northern border, and would act towards the fulfillment of the UN's decisions.


He expressed hope that following the election of the new government in Lebanon, negotiations would be made possible, and also claimed that the implementation of decision 1701 constitutes the best and only option for pacifying the region.


Hagai Einav contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 07.09.08, 00:08
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