Hezbollah doubtful over German role in UN force

5th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

5 September 2006, BERLIN - The Shiite Hezbollah militia has expressed "reservations" about Germany's involvement in the multinational UN force deploying for Lebanon, owing to German demands that its troops be allowed to stop and search boats bound for the country.

5 September 2006

BERLIN - The Shiite Hezbollah militia has expressed "reservations" about Germany's involvement in the multinational UN force deploying for Lebanon, owing to German demands that its troops be allowed to stop and search boats bound for the country.

"Our reservations are regarding the German demand to search boats as they enter Lebanon," Hezbollah member of parliament Hussein Haj Hassan told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on Tuesday. "Such a demand stands against the sovereignty of Lebanon."

Hezbollah "is not against the German government and has great respect for the German people," Haj Hassan stressed, "but they want the German government to review its stand towards Lebanon." Haj Hassan additionally accused Berlin of bias towards Israel's policies in the region.

Earlier Tuesday, a high-ranking government source said that Lebanon had agreed "in principle" to ask German troops to monitor its sea coast.

"The government has agreed in principle, but there is a condition the request will be made to the German government through the UN only after Israel lifts its blockade of Lebanon," the source told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Lebanon has been under an air and sea blockade by Israel since the 33-day Israeli-Hezbollah conflict was sparked July 12 by the militia's capture of two Israeli soldiers. Israel has said that it will lift the blockade only when the UN peacekeeping force established to strengthen the current UN force in southern Lebanon reaches 5,000.

The source, a close aide of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora, confirmed that during a cabinet meeting on Monday the two Hezbollah cabinet ministers had expressed "reservations" about the Germans monitoring the sea off the coast of Lebanon.

"Their reservations were that UN resolution 1701, which ended the violence between Israel and Hezbollah, indicates that UN troops will only monitor areas south of the Litani River and not Lebanese waters," the source said.

Lebanese news agency ANI also quoted Energy Minister Mohammed Fneish of Hezbollah as saying "if the forces joining the UN are working within their UN mission we have no problems with UNIFIL troops or governments participating in this mission."

According to Lebanese army sources, Lebanese naval forces are to monitor the area that stretches seven miles off the coast of Lebanon, and German troops will monitor the coast beyond.

This move is aimed at preventing arms being smuggled to Hezbollah, which is one of the chief demands of the UN and the international community.

DPA

Subject: German news

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