Hariri asks UN to forge permanent truce with Israel

Hariri asks UN to forge permanent truce with Israel
2 min read
21 April, 2017
The Lebanese Prime Minister visited southern Lebanon on Friday where he urged the UN to support efforts to secure a "permanent ceasefire" with Israel.
Hizballah and Israel fought a 34-day war in 2006 that killed 1,200 Lebanese civilians [AFP]
Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri has asked the United Nations to help end Israel's "continuous violations" of Lebanese territory.

"I urge the UN secretary general to support efforts to secure, as soon as possible, a state of permanent ceasefire. This is long overdue and my government is committed to move this agenda forward," Hariri said on Friday.

Hariri made the comments during a visit to south Lebanon, where he met with the head of the UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL. 

A day earlier, Hizballah took a group of over 100 local and international journalists on a rare tour of a nearby border area.

Members of the group's armed wing stood guard on part of the tour, displaying weapons despite an official prohibition on any armed paramilitary presence so close to the demarcation line.

Speaking from the town of Naqura in Lebanon's far south, Hariri criticised the group for organising the tour.

"What happened yesterday is something that we - as a government - are not concerned with and do not accept," he said.

Hariri, accompanied by the Lebanese defence minister and army chief, said his trip was intended "to tell the Lebanese armed forces that they and only they are the legitimate force in charge of defending our borders".

There has been rising speculation about a new conflict between Hizballah and Israel - who fought a 34-day war in 2006 that killed 1,200 Lebanese - mainly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Last month, Israeli hard-line minister Naftali Bennet threatened to send Lebanon back to the "Middle Ages" if a new conflict broke out.

In 2000, Israel withdrew its military forces from southern Lebanon, ending a 22-year occupation.

The two countries remain technically at war and there are occasional skirmishes along the border.

Hizballah is a major force in Lebanon and is thought to possess an arsenal that exceeds that of the country's army.

Hariri's political bloc is now aligned with the group despite years of bitter acrimony.