Last Updated: Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:13 am (KSA) 07:13 am (GMT)

Lebanon's PM urges more UN pressure on Israel

Lebanon PM Saad al-Hariri insisted on the full implementation of resolution 1701 (File)
Lebanon PM Saad al-Hariri insisted on the full implementation of resolution 1701 (File)

Lebanon's prime minister urged the U.N. chief on Sunday to increase pressure on Israel to end all violations of Lebanese borders, and to help prevent it from exploiting Lebanese oil and gas, a Lebanese official said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, expressed new support for the tribunal in a meeting with Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in New York on Friday. Growing tensions in his country have dominated Hariri's talks on his trip.

In a one-hour meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a New York hotel, Hariri insisted on the "full implementation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1701," a member of Hariri's delegation told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

U.N. Security Council resolution 1701 halted hostilities in the Israeli-Hezbollah war in 2006 and banned all unauthorized weapons between the Litani River and the Blue Line, the U.N.-monitored border between Israel and Lebanon.

It also called on Israel to halt unauthorized flights over Lebanese territory, though the United Nations says the Jewish state regularly sends aircraft over Lebanon.

Hariri "requested the utmost pressure on Israel to cease its violations in the air, on land and at sea," the source said. "He also said Lebanon is relying on the United Nations to prevent Israeli infringement of Lebanon's exclusive economic zone, including regarding oil and gas resources."

Lebanon sent Ban a letter last week asking him to ensure that Israel's plans to drill for gas in the Mediterranean Sea do not encroach on its own offshore reserves.

But Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky has said resolution 1701 does not cover delineating Lebanon's maritime border.

Lebanon tribunal

Lebanon PM Hariri (R) meet with US Secretary of State Clinton in New York

Nesirky confirmed in a statement that Ban and Hariri discussed "the need to end Israeli air violations." He said they also touched on a U.N. tribunal's investigation into the 2005 bombing that killed Hariri's father Rafik al-Hariri, a powerful Sunni Muslim politician.

Members of the Shiite group Hezbollah are to be named in indictments to be filed by the Special Tribunal on Lebanon, according to media. The indictments are expected to be filed within weeks despite a Hezbollah campaign against the tribunal's work, according to diplomats.

Hezbollah has denied any involvement in Rafiq Hariri's 2005 assassination and has said the U.N.-backed tribunal is politicized. The younger Hariri has resisted Hezbollah demands that he renounce the investigation.

Hariri met Clinton in New York on Friday night.

Clinton "expressed very clearly her support for the Hariri tribunal," a source who was at the meeting told AFP.

"Secretary Clinton expressed her strong support for the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon," added the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Saudi monarch, King Abdullah, is staying in a hotel near Hariri's and Clinton also met the king on Friday night.

Saudi Arabia and Syria have been attempting to mediate in the dispute between Hezbollah and Hariri's government.

The Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, also met Hariri on Friday.

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