U.N. expresses concern over reported Hezbollah arms build-up


hezbollah paradeU.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag has expressed concern during interview with Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that was published on Thursday over reports that Hezbollah is receiving more arms.

“What is said about increased build-up of weapons by Hezbollah is a source of concern,” she said
“There is no need for me to repeat what was mentioned in the (U.N.) Secretary-General’s report on Resolution 1701,” she asserted.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said in his report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 in February that “the maintenance of arms by Hezbollah and other groups outside the control of the Lebanese state … continues to restrict the state’s ability to exercise full sovereignty and authority over its territory.”

Israeli officials have consistently reported to the U.N. that “there are significant ongoing arms transfers to Hezbollah across the Lebanese-Syrian border” and that the party “has now amassed an arsenal of over 100,000 missiles and rockets, much of which Israel claims is located in civilian residential areas,” Ban added.

Commenting on recent reports about the Syrian refugees in Lebanon Kaag reiterated that the international community does not have the intention to naturalize Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Last month, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil snubbed Ban during his two-day visit to Lebanon under the excuse that the international community is pressuring Lebanese authorities into naturalizing the displaced Syrians.

Lebanon is home to more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees, or more than a quarter of the country’s 4.5 million people. Another half a million unregistered Syrians live in the country in addition to half a million Palestinian refugees.