SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON GOVERNMENTS TO SHOW UTMOST RESTRAINT IN MIDDLE EAST
NEW YORK, 16 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of a statement issued today by the Office of the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General is deeply disturbed by recent escalation of military operations across the Blue Line, with the action by Hezbollah units against Israeli forces last Saturday and the heavy Israeli retaliation against Lebanese targets. He is especially dismayed by the further escalatory response by Israel in the bombing early today of Syrian positions in Lebanon.
These actions are in clear violation of Security Council resolution 425 and other Council decisions accepted by both Lebanon and Syria, including resolution 1337 which calls for the parties concerned to respect the Blue Line.
The Secretary-General emphasizes that it is essential to respect the Blue Line which was established to maintain stability in a volatile area. He cannot stress strongly enough that it is vital that the Governments concerned as well as other parties involved act with the utmost restraint.
The Secretary-General has been in contact by telephone with the leaders in the Governments concerned during the day and will be continuing these contacts tonight and tomorrow. He remains convinced that political negotiations must be resumed with the least delay to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.
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