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Lebanon situation.



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MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

FA091 12 August 2006

LEBANON SITUATION

I welcome the unanimous adoption today of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 calling for the full cessation of hostilities in the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. I commend the leadership of the United States and France in achieving this outcome.

The Australian Government has been deeply concerned about the loss of life in the conflict and its affect on civilian populations and has been calling for such a resolution.

It is now essential that Hezbollah, a terrorist organisation, stop all attacks against Israel. Israel should also stop offensive operations in Lebanon in accordance with the terms of the resolution.

I note the resolution authorises the expansion of the mandate and size of UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

This resolution does not mean the end to the crisis. This will not occur until the underlying causes of the conflict are resolved.

I call on the United Nations, the Government of Lebanon and the Government of Israel to work towards a sustainable and durable ceasefire. This must be based on strict respect by all parties for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both countries and full implementation of resolutions requiring the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon.

It is also essential Iran and Syria respect the resolution, and Israel’s right to exist within secure borders.

Media inquiries: Tony Parkinson (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 Traci Williams (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

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