WASHINGTON – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday warned that the continued expansion of Hezbollah's weapons arsenal and acts such as the launch of a drone to Israel could gravely undermine Lebanese stability and lead to a dangerous escalation.
In his 16th semi-Annual Report on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559, the UN chief said, "I have repeatedly expressed my deep concern to Lebanese leaders about the serious risks that the continued existence of militias poses to the stability of the country and the region. "
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He further added, "I urged them to address this matter without further delay, as it is their obligation under Security Council resolution 1559."
But according to Ban, Hezbollah's leadership acknowledges that it maintains a substantial military arsenal separate from that of the State, claiming it serves defensive purposes against Israel.
"In public pronouncements, the leadership of Hezbollah stated that it has upgraded the strength of its military capabilities and will seek to continue to do so."
"This is in blatant defiance of resolution 1559," he said in the report. "The Secretary-General of Hezbollah also acknowledged on 11 October that his militia had launched a drone towards Israel that was intercepted by the Israeli Air Force on 6 October."
He warned that "Hezbollah is also a Lebanese political party. Israeli officials have argued that, given its participation in the Lebanese government, Israel would consider reacting to any Hezbollah attack on Israel with retaliation on the Lebanese state."
The UN chief also mentioned the Shiite group's involvement in the Syrian civil war. "In recent months, there have been credible reports suggesting involvement by Hezbollah and other Lebanese political forces in support of the parties in the conflict in Syria," the report said.
"Member States have raised the matter with me with concern, particularly in the wake of recent reports on the killing of Hezbollah militants involved in the fighting against armed elements of the Syrian opposition.
"Such militant activities in Syria contradict and undermine the dissociation policy of the Government of Lebanon, of which Hezbollah is a coalition member. "
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