UN May Form C'tee to Review Weapons Smuggling to Lebanon

NEW YORK - The United Nations Security Council will consider forming a special committee to review accusations that Syria and Iran are smuggling arms to Hezbollah through southern Lebanon.

The possibility of forming committee was included in a statement by the Security Council president, U.K. Ambassador to the UN Sir Emyr Parry Jones. The statement was circulated among member states in preparation of a discussion on the matter tomorrow.

The statement proposes forming a team of experts commissioned by Britain, France and the U.S., to examine whether weapons are indeed being smuggled to Lebanon, as Israel has repeatedly claimed. The initiative was launched Friday, and was considered a significant step toward resolving the issue.

However, the statement stipulates that the proposed committee will only be formed if all 15 members of the Security Council vote in favor of it.

The Security Council presidency is rotated alphabetically each month. This means the formation of the committee is dependent on the consent of member countries such as Qatar, South Africa, Indonesia and Russia, among others.

"The initiative is a demonstration of the ongoing effort to counter the efforts of Hezbollah and to promote stability within Lebanon," a senior diplomat told Haaretz.

The initiative is a result of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's briefing last week to member states, following his tour in the Middle East.

Sources in New York said the secretary-general informed the Security Council that he had obtained evidence from Israel and from "another country" that indicate Syria and Iran were indeed smuggling arms into Lebanon.