United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday issued a particularly sharp criticism of Hezbollah, accusing it of direct involvement in Syria, receiving Iranian support and called for the group’s disarmament.
Earlier this month, Israeli fighter jets shot down an unarmed Iranian-made drone, sent by Hezbollah into Israeli airspace, most likely to gather intelligence. Yesterday, Ban Ki-moon commented on the incident in the context of a twice yearly report to the UN Security Council on implementation of resolution 1559, which was adopted in 2004 and includes calls for the disbanding of all militias and the extension of the Lebanese government’s control over all Lebanese territory.
He said that the launching of a drone by Hezbollah constituted “a reckless provocation that could lead to a dangerous escalation threatening Lebanon’s stability.” However, he also criticised “Israel’s continued violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” calling on Israel to “cease its over flights of Lebanese airspace that undermine the credibility of Lebanese security services.”
The report, outlined by Ban Ki-moon is highly critical of Hezbollah, warning that its military is “reaching almost the capacities of a regular army.” It continues to explain “The maintenance by Hezbollah of sizeable sophisticated military capabilities outside the control of the government of Lebanon remains a matter of grave concern” as it “constitutes a threat to regional peace and stability.”
In a general assessment of Hezbollah, Ban Ki-moon accused Iran of arming the organization and said that it was also fighting alongside the forces of President Assad in Syria. He added, “I call yet again upon the leadership of Hezbollah to disarm and limit its activities to that of a Lebanese political party.”