The UN Security Council adopted Thursday a resolution calling foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon, for disbanding and disarming all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, and warning against outside interference in Lebanese presidential elections.
The resolution was passed with a 9-0 vote with six abstentions. 9 is the minimum vote possible, to approve a Security Council resolution.
The resolution was only possible to pass after the U.S and France agreed not to mention Syria or Hezbollah by name.
After the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Syria, with the agreement of the Lebanese government, is the only country that is deploying forces on the Lebanese soil.
The United States presented the draft resolution against the well of the Lebanese government. Most abstaining council members said they agreed with Lebanon that the measure interfered in the country’s internal affairs.
Lebanon secretary-general for foreign affairs Mohammed Issa said that the 17,000 Syrian soldiers were in Lebanon at the government’s request to protect against ‘radical action emanating from Israel.’
Angola, Benin, Britain, Chile, Germany, Romania and Spain joined the United States and France in voting in favor of the measure.
Brazil, the Philippines, Russia, Pakistan, Algeria and China abstained from the vote.
It is believed that the U.S. move in the U.N. followed a Syrian backed initiative demanding the 128-members Lebanese parliament to amend the constitution to allow Lebanese president Emile Lahoud a 3-years extension.
The current Lebanese constitution allows presidents to serve one six-year term only.
It is believed that the proposed amendment can easily gain the required 2/3 majority.
‘It is clear that Lebanese parliamentarians have been pressured and even threatened by Syria and its agents to make them comply,’ Danforth accused.
A senior Lebanese official asked council members to withdraw the resolution, saying the UN body had never interfered in this manner in the internal affairs of a member-state.
Syria’s U.N. ambassador, Fayssal Mekdad, told reporters that Paris and Washington had ‘failed dramatically’ in their mission because they had been obliged to rewrite the resolution to win its adoption.
The resolution would have no impact and ‘has become ‘merely an expression’ of interference in the internal affairs of a country, Mekdad told reporters after the council vote.