Press Releases

    SG/SM/9854
    5 May 2005

    Secretary-General “Gravely Concerned” by Denial of Freedom of Movement of UN Verification Mission in Lebanon

    NEW YORK, 4 May (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The Secretary-General was gravely concerned to learn that members of the United Nations’ verification mission currently in Lebanon to verify the full withdrawal of Syrian troops, military assets and the intelligence apparatus were denied freedom of movement as Palestinian armed elements fired warning shots in the air when they were inspecting sites in the Bekaa Valley.

    The Secretary-General deplores this incident.  He expects the Government of Lebanon to ensure the safety of the verification mission.  He further expects the mission to be afforded full and unconditional freedom of movement throughout Lebanon at all times.  The Secretary-General reiterates his call on all concerned parties to fully implement resolution 1559 without delay.  He emphasizes that the resolution calls on the Government of Lebanon to extend its authority over all Lebanese territory under its sole and exclusive control.

    * *** *