|Originally Aired: August 7, 2006
U.S. Urges Vote on Draft Resolution to End Israeli-Hezbollah Fighting
|U.S. officials pressed for a vote on a draft U.N. resolution that would set terms for an end to Israeli-Hezbollah hostilities. An expert discusses the agreement, drafted by the United States and France.|
MARGARET WARNER: While the war in the Middle
East was intensifying today, President Bush and Secretary of State
Rice held a news conference on diplomatic efforts to end the crisis. The
president began by describing the draft U.N. resolutions that the U.S.
and France agreed to this weekend.
GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States: The first resolution,
which the Security Council is now considering, calls for a stop of all
Under its terms: Hezbollah will be required to immediately
stop all attacks; Israel will be required to immediately stop all offensive
military operations; and, in addition, the resolution calls for an embargo on
the shipment of any arms into Lebanon, except as authorized by the Lebanese
A second resolution, which the Security Council will begin
working on as soon as possible, will help establish a sustainable and enduring
cease-fire and provide a mandate for a robust international force that will
help the legitimate government of Lebanon
extend its authority over all of Lebanon's territory. Under the
second resolution, the Lebanese armed forces, supported by the international
force, will deploy to southern Lebanon.
This international force will help Lebanon patrol its border with Syria and prevent illegal arms
shipments to Hezbollah. As these Lebanese and international forces deploy, the
Israeli Defense Forces will withdraw and both Israel
will respect the blue line that divides them.
has rejected the draft proposal, and Israel is not speaking out in
support of it. How do you get a resolution that both sides will support?
GEORGE W. BUSH: The intent of the resolution is to make sure
that we address the root cause -- the resolutions to address the root cause,
which was a state operating within the state. Hezbollah was or is an armed
movement that provoked the crisis. And so whatever comes out of the resolutions
must address that root cause.
And so the task today for the secretary and her counterparts
is to develop a resolution that can get passed. It is essential that we create
the conditions for the Lebanese government to move her own forces, with
international help, into the south of Lebanon to prevent Hezbollah and its
sponsors from creating another crisis. And so that's where we're headed.
But we will work with our partners to get the resolution
laid down as quickly as possible, and the resolution will call for a cessation
Getting to the root of the problem
JOURNALIST: Many strategists say that we'll never get to the
bottom of this crisis unless the U.S.
engages directly with Syria
Why not talk to them directly about this and have a back-and-forth
GEORGE W. BUSH: We have been in touch with Syria. Colin Powell sent a message
in person. Dick Armitage traveled to Syria. Bill Burns traveled to Syria.
We've got a consulate office in Syria.
knows what we think. The problem isn't us telling Syria what's on our minds, which is
to stop harboring terror and to, you know, help the Iraqi democracy evolve. They
know exactly what our position is.
The problem is, is that their response hasn't been very
positive. As a matter of fact, it hasn't been positive at all.
In terms of Iran,
we made it clear to the Iranians that, if they would honor previous obligations
and verifiably stop enrichment of nuclear materials, we would sit at a table. So
there's a way forward for both countries; the choice is theirs.
Now, you know, I appreciate people focusing on Syria and
Iran, and we should, because Syria and Iran sponsor and promote Hezbollah
activities all aimed at creating chaos, all aimed at using terror to stop the
advance of democracies. You know, our objective, our policy is to give voice to
people through democratic reform.
JOURNALIST: Mr. President, what are the specific stumbling
blocks that are preventing this first resolution from being passed quickly? What
are the people -- what are the parties objecting to in the language that needs
to be altered?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. Secretary of State: There is more
agreement than you might think about how to prevent, again, a situation in
which you have a state within a state able to launch an attack across the blue
For instance, there is agreement that the Lebanese
government needs to extend its authority throughout the country, that it needs
to have the Lebanese armed forces move to take care of this vacuum that has
been existing in the south, that there should not be any armed groups able just
to operate in the south in the way that Hezbollah has been able to operate in
the south, that there ought to be respect for the blue line.
These are all agreements between the two parties. And so
there is going to be some pressure from both sides to get things onto the
agenda because they want to get them onto the agenda. But I think we have a
reasonable basis here that both sides can accept; I think there are some issues
of timing and sequence that need to be worked out.
There are some concerns about when an international force
would actually be available, but everybody agrees it's time to have a
cessation. We're going to work a little bit more with the parties, and I think
this resolution will be the right basis, both to cease the hostilities and to
JOURNALIST: Lebanon's parliament's speaker, Nabih Berri,
who's been negotiating for Hezbollah, has rejected the first resolutions saying
it's unacceptable. They want the Israeli troops to pull out immediately; is
that a negotiable point?
GEORGE W. BUSH: Whatever happens in the U.N., we must not
create a vacuum into which Hezbollah and its sponsors are able to move more
weapons. The idea is to have the Lebanese government move into the south so
that the government of Lebanon
can protect its own territory and that there be an international force to
provide the help necessary for the Lebanese government to secure its country.
Negotiating a peace
MARGARET WARNER: And Ray Suarez has more on the diplomatic
RAY SUAREZ: For the latest on negotiations under way at the
United Nations, we talk to Colum Lynch, correspondent for the Washington Post.
Colum, as details have emerged about the proposed
resolution, what's been the reaction among the member states?
COLUM LYNCH, U.N. Correspondent, Washington Post: Well, it's
been varied, as you can see. Lebanon
and its supporters in the Arab world have objected to a number of elements,
primarily the fact that Israel
would not be required to withdraw from southern Lebanon immediately.
The Americans and the French, the chief sponsors of this
resolution, have generally gained broad support throughout the rest of the council
for this resolution for its swift passage. The only sort of question mark
around this is what position Russia
over the last couple of days, its envoy, Vitaliy Churkin, has expressed some
concern about adopting a resolution that doesn't have the support of both
parties. They haven't threatened to cause trouble; they haven't begun to
negotiate in earnest on behalf of the Lebanese. But if Russia's concerns are not
addressed, that could cause real problems and really delay this process, but
they're a bit of a wild card at this point.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, remind people about why the Russians are
so important in the Security Council vote.
COLUM LYNCH: Well, the Russians, as you know, have a veto
power. So no resolution gets through the council if Russia says no, if it decides to
vote against it.
RAY SUAREZ: This was such a difficult negotiations, I guess
there's no chance, is there, that there could be modifications still made
before a vote to reflect some of those Arab nation objections?
COLUM LYNCH: Well, you never say it's impossible until it's
done. I mean, the Arabs, first of all, don't have veto power. The lone Arab
country on the council, Qatar, has been acting essentially on behalf of
Lebanon, but it's not clear whether they're just trying to negotiate a somewhat
better deal and, at the end of the day, they will support this resolution.
But I think that, you know, essentially, this is a sort of
resolution that could possibly get through with some changes. And there was an
important announcement by the Lebanese government today that they're willing to
send 15,000 Lebanese soldiers into southern Lebanon to essentially fill the
void that, you know, they hope and that the international community hopes would
be left by a departure by Hezbollah.
It's not at all clear that they will be able to deploy. They
have been committed to deploying in the region for many years and haven't done
it. Whether this is a serious offer or not will have to be taken into account,
but it's certain that this idea is likely to sort of be integrated into this
discussion in the Security Council.
RAY SUAREZ: While it's only Security Council members that
have a vote, when there's such an important resolution coming before the council,
do members of the General Assembly start just speaking out? Do member states
make their views known to reporters like you?
COLUM LYNCH: Generally they do make their views known. However,
often when there are sort of a clamor for public discussion, there is an
opportunity to open up the Security Council for a sort of open public debate
which allows every government, all the 192 members of the U.N., to participate
It could be that the discussion tomorrow -- there's a
delegation headed by the Arab League tomorrow by its secretary general, Amr
Moussa, this could provide a sort of forum for others to express their views. So
there's plenty of opportunity to do it without going to the General Assembly. And
I'm not aware of any effort at the moment to take this up in the General
A slow process
RAY SUAREZ: Is it yet clear when there will be a vote on
COLUM LYNCH: Not clear at all. Secretary Rice was hoping to
come into town tonight to get passage of the resolution tomorrow. Initially
they had hoped to do it last week. Now, with the arrival of the Arab
delegation, it's not going to happen tomorrow.
The earliest possible date is Wednesday, possibly Thursday,
but then again, as I mentioned, if the Russians start to express serious
reservations about the resolution, that could turn this into a protracted
discussion that could go on for many weeks.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, as the president explained it, this is a
two-phase proposal and you can't get the international force in there until you
get that first resolution passed. Why the slow movement on this thing?
COLUM LYNCH: Well, there are important, you know, sort of
issues being debated in this resolution. It's not just about a cessation of
hostilities; it basically outlines a kind of road forward.
And a lot of the issues that are dealt with -- I mean, for
example, the whole question of the fact that the resolution doesn't require
Israel to withdraw, I think that, from the Lebanese side, they're sort of
wondering, "Well, what if we go on for weeks, and months, and forever
without reaching the next resolution? What if there is no political agreement? I
mean, does that mean the Israelis can stay in here indefinitely?"
RAY SUAREZ: Well, now that there's something on paper that
at least in some vague way describes the international force, is there any more
wisdom around the United Nations about who's going to be in it, how big it's
going to be, and the circumstances under which it could enter southern Lebanon?
COLUM LYNCH: Well, this is another very serious issue. I
mean, no one is going to send troops in there first of all to disarm, to
forcibly disarm Hezbollah. France, which is likely to lead such a force, has
made it clear that it doesn't believe that that's possible. So that's the sort
of initial problem.
I mean, there will be discussion. Countries probably will
sign up. But then there's the other problem which is Lebanon has indicated that
it doesn't want an international force. It doesn't mind a U.N. blue-helmeted
force being expanded, but it doesn't want a big foreign, European-led force.
They said it looks too -- it sort of reeks of
neocolonialism. They say that it would be rejected by Hezbollah. Hezbollah's
two key backers outside of Lebanon, Iran and Syria, have also sort of fiercely
objected to the notion of an international force.
RAY SUAREZ: Colum Lynch from the U.N., thanks a lot.
COLUM LYNCH: Thanks for having me.
||U.S. Urges Vote on Draft Resolution to End Israeli-Hezbollah Fighting