UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Facing sharp criticism across the Arab world, France and the United States considered amendments on Monday to their draft resolution aimed at ending more than three weeks of the Israeli-Hizbollah conflict.
France’s U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere said changes would probably be made to the U.N. Security Council draft resolution, in light of the negative reaction from Lebanon and Arab League representatives meeting in Beirut.
“I am going to work today to improve the text,” de la Sabliere told reporters. “We have to take into account the concerns of all.”
The French ambassador spoke as the Arab League announced it would send a delegation to the United Nations to press for changes. The group would include foreign ministers from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the league’s secretary-general, Amr Moussa, an Egyptian.
Their chief objection is the presence of some 10,000 Israeli troops in southern Lebanon trying to suppress Hizbollah rocket fire at Israeli towns. The draft does not call for their withdrawal, which would be left to a follow-up resolution authorizing an international force and setting peace terms.
Yahya Mahmassani, the Arab League’s U.N. observer, told reporters the current draft “has a discriminatory tone, and we don’t accept it.
He added: “The first thing you should do is get the Israelis out of Lebanese soil. This is the first prerequisite of respect of Lebanese sovereignty.”
At his ranch in Crawford, Texas, President George W. Bush urged a quick vote on the resolution. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to come to the United Nations for a vote on the document.
Greece’s foreign minister, Dora Bakoyann, was arriving in New York later on Monday, her U.N. ambassador, Adamantios Vassilakis said — an indication that foreign ministers of Security Council members would meet to approve the draft when it is finalized.
But no vote has been called yet and the draft has not yet been formally introduced.
Well this certainly did not take long to get re-worked now did it? Less than 24 hours! We did feel the original language was a biased calling on Israel to cease “offensive missions” but presumably allowing defensive actions to take place. Frankly… every action Israel takes can be argued as “defensive” by TelAviv. Please, let’s get real!!! Editorially we would have prefered to see the U.S. partner much closer with the Arab League, rather than France, in order to faccilitate the assembly of a multinational peace keeping force made up primarilly of moderate Arab nations to be inserted into southern Lebabaon as part of a second phase of ONE resolution. Western Nations need to begin to take a secondary role and allow moderate Arab Nations, who are also very large stakeholders in preventing Iranian / Syrian manifest destiny to succeed which also threatens their central social control as well, to be seen as the lead broker in a cease fire and the conditions of arab multinational occupation in Sourthern Lebanon.
There needs to be a clean break in the current hostilities and a demonstration of the Lebanese government’s willingness to dis-arm the Hezboulah political party participating in their parliment. That their soldiers in the north are not capable is a smoke screen. Let a multi-national force of arab nations assist them if that is the case. Otherwise, Lebanon is no better or worse than Iran and Syria in allowing the circumstances and conditions on the ground, an armed Hezboulah political party within it’s own country, to degenerate into the same conflict again in a few months.
TelAviv also probably does recognize that U.S. direct involvement just adds fuel to the fire. In the meantime the beatings will continue until both sides exhaust themselves.