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Statement to the UN in the Special Public Session on Lebanon

Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Remarks to UN Security Council
New York City
July 14, 2006

US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton speaks to the United Nations Security Council in New York July 14, 2006, about the conflict between Israel and Lebanon. REUTERS/Chip East ,UNITED STATES,Mr. President, in recent days and weeks, we have seen an outbreak of violence in the Middle East, sparked by attacks and kidnappings which Hamas and Hizballah carried out against Israel. Events continue to develop even as we speak.

Hizballah's incursions across the Blue Line on July 12 were a deliberate and premeditated provocation intended to undermine regional stability and are contrary to the interests of both the Lebanese and Israeli people. We unequivocally condemn the kidnapping by Hizballah, a terrorist organization, of two Israeli soldiers and call for their immediate and unconditional release.

Provocations across the Blue Line by terrorist groups highlight the urgent need for full and immediate compliance by Syria and Hizballah with relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including 1559, 1583, 1655, and 1680.

The international community has made clear its desire to see the central authority of the Government of Lebanon extended throughout the country.

In this context, we underscore the importance of the Security Council President's statement of June 18, 2000 and the Secretary-General's conclusion that as of June 16, 2000, Israel had withdrawn all its forces from Lebanon in accordance with UNSC resolution 425 and met the requirements defined in the Secretary-General's May 22, 2000 report.

As President Bush said yesterday, we are concerned about the fragile democracy in Lebanon. While we have been working very hard with partners to strengthen the democracy in Lebanon, we are also making clear that the democratic aspirations of the Lebanese people must not be undermined by the irresponsible and destabilizing actions of Hizballah.

We have repeatedly made clear to Lebanon and Syria our serious concern about the presence of terrorist groups on their soil and the periodic attacks against Israel from groups and individuals in southern Lebanon.

All militias in Lebanon, including Hizballah, must disarm and disband immediately and the Lebanese government must extend and exercise its sole and exclusive control over all Lebanese territory.

President Bush has made clear that Syria and Iran must be held to account for supporting regional terrorism and their role in the current crisis. Syria provides safe haven to the militant wing of Hamas and provides material support to Hizballah, which also maintains an active presence in Syria. Iran's extensive sponsorship and financial and other support of Hizballah is well known and has been ongoing for decades. No reckoning with Hizballah will be adequate without a reckoning with its principal state sponsors of terror.

We call on Syria and Iran to cease their sponsorship and support of terrorist groups, in particular Hizballah and Hamas. For the third time in two weeks, we again call on Syria to arrest Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, who currently lives in Damascus. There is no excuse for a member state of the United Nations to continue to knowingly harbor a recognized terrorist.

The Secretary General's decision to send a senior level team to the region is a development that is welcomed by my government. We are also engaged with the primary parties and other concerned leaders to help restore calm and achieve a resolution to this crisis. In fact, senior U.S. officials are in Jerusalem today for meetings.

All parties in the region must accept their responsibilities for maintaining security and stability. We urge all parties to accept the principle that governments must exercise sovereign control over territory. The United States remains firmly committed to working with others not only to resolve the present situation but toward building longer-term peace and stability in the region.

Released on July 14, 2006

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