BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri called Friday for a ceasefire with Israel in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which halted hostilities between the Jewish state and Hezbollah following a month-long devastating war in 2006.
Hariri made his remarks during a visit to UN peacekeeping forces in south Lebanon, a day after Hezbollah organized a media tour to offer insights into the defensive measures that Israel has taken along the southern frontier in preparation for any future conflict.
While blasting Israel for violating UN resolutions, Hariri also criticized Hezbollah’s media tour, calling it "unacceptable in our opinion."
“I wanted to come here to stress that the state and the government along with the president are responsible for maintaining and implementing Resolution 1701. It is also time for Israel to understand the need to reach a cease-fire. The situation hasn’t changed in 11 years and thank God nothing happened. We have to reach a ceasefire,” Hariri said.
Hariri also stressed the army’s role in preserving security along the border with Israel, saying “the Lebanese army is the only one in charge of protecting the borders and the supreme legitimate force defending us,” Hariri said.
His comments appeared as an attempt to reassure the international community and Lebanese factions opposed to Hezbollah that the government didn’t approve of the Iranian-backed group’s tour along the border. The tour was criticized as a violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty and resolution 1701.
The resolution bans all unauthorized weapons between the Litani River and the Blue Line, the U.N.-monitored border between Israel and Lebanon and expands the UN peacekeeping force in south Lebanon from 2,000 troops to as many as 15,000.
Hariri, who was accompanied by Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf and Lebanese Army Chief Joseph Aoun, met with the head of the U.N. peacekeeping forces stationed in the area.
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