UN chief slams Hezbollah for activities in Egypt
New United Nations report says Hezbollah engaging in clandestine activities beyond Lebanon.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is alarmed at the public admission by Lebanese militant group Hezbollah that it provided support from Egypt to Gaza-based Palestinian fighters, an aide said Thursday.
UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said the secretary-general condemns the unwarranted interference in the domestic affairs of Egypt, a UN member state.
He told the UN Security Council on Thursday that Ban is calling on Hezbollah to cease any militant activities outside of Lebanon and complete its transformation into a solely Lebanese political party.
Roed-Larsen is Ban's envoy dealing with implementation of a UN Security Council resolution adopted in 2004 that calls for the extension of Lebanese government authority throughout the country.
A United Nations update report released Thursday said that Hezbollah militants had planned to carry out "hostile operations" in Egypt while maintaining a significant force and weapon arsenals at their strongholds in Lebanon.
The report, which dealt with the 2004 UN resolution for an arms embargo on all militia groups outside the Beirut government, said there had been alarming reports of large number of arms reaching those groups while Hezbollah leaders continued to "assert that they have acquired more sophisticated military technology."
The report written by Roed-Larsen, said information indicated that in recent weeks, "there has been a growing concern that Hezbollah has engaged in clandestine and illegal militant activities beyond Lebanese territory."
He said Egypt's general prosecutor on April 8 arrested 49 people based on information from the country's State Security investigation alleging that they were assigned by Hezbollah "to plan and carry out hostile operations on Egyptian soil."
Roed-Larsen said Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had acknowledged the detention of a Hezbollah operative and Egyptian authorities had confirmed the existence of a Hezbollah cell on their territory.
"The government of Egypt has shared with the UN secretary general a number of details concerning the plans, resources and actions of the cell as well and the material and devices confiscated," Roed- Larsen said in the report to the UN Security Council, which met to discuss it.
It cited "alarming reports" that the Iran-backed Hezbollah had received sophisticated military technology in a breach of the UN arms embargo on militias operating in Lebanon in violation of Lebanese sovereignty.
The United States has accused Iran and Syria of providing military assistance to Hezbollah in its fight against Israel.
The UN Security Council has been urging the Lebanese government to disarm paramilitary groups and restore its sovereignty over the territory.
'World must prevent strengthening of Hezbollah'
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Ayalon told a senior United Nations official Thursday that he expects the international community to prevent Hezbollah from strengthening.
"Israel expects more decisive action from the international community to prevent Hezbollah from strengthening and to dismantle its weapons," Ayalon said.
He made the comments during a meeting with the head of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Alan Le Roy.
Ayalon added that an Israeli withdrawal from the northern part of the village of Ghajar, on the Israeli-Lebanese border, is part of a newly-formulated government policy.
Senior army officers from Lebanon, Israel and the United Nations will meet in two weeks to coordinate the withdrawal.
Ghajar is split by the international border between Lebanon and the Israeli-held Golan Heights, which was part of Syria before the Six-Day War. Its residents are Alawis, a Shiite sect of Islam to which the majority of Syria's ruling elite belong, who also have Israeli identity cards.
Since Israel's withdrawal from its self-proclaimed security zone in southern Lebanon in 2000, Jerusalem has been in talks with the UN to find a way to transfer its control over the northern part of the village back to Lebanon.
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