MOSCOW – UN peacekeepers deployed in Lebanon are unlikely to be able to disarm the militant group Hezbollah, as required under UN Security Council Resolution 1701, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Friday, RIA-Novosti reported.
“˜Under the UN mandate, one of the main functions of the peacekeepers is to disarm Hezbollah,” Ivanov was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency. “˜I strongly doubt that the UN will fulfill this task.”
Ivanov said that concern over this aspect of the peacekeepers” mission was one of the reasons Moscow decided to send a peacekeeping contingent to Lebanon under an accord reached separately with the Lebanese government, instead of under the UN mandate, RIA-Novosti reported.
UN Security Council Resolution 1701 requires the Shia militant group Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war against Israel in July-August, to disarm.
Peacekeepers are instructed to ensure the south Lebanon border area with Israel is “˜free of any armed personnel and weapons other than those of the Lebanese armed forces and UNIFIL (peacekeepers).”
Hezbollah guerrillas have kept a low profile since the resolution, but refused to disarm.