Lebanon to fight Israeli blockade at UN

The Lebanese government has said it will protest at the UN against Israel's blockade of the country, which began two days after fighting started on July 12 between Israel and Hezbollah.

    The Lebanese government will file a complaint at the UN

    Ghazi Aridi, the minister of information, told reporters after a special cabinet meeting on Monday: "The cabinet has decided to file a complaint with the Security Council against Israel for its continued blockade of Lebanon, its violation of international resolutions ... and its insistence to challenge the international will."

    Emile Lahoud, the Lebanese president, said: "The Security Council must meet as soon as possible to take a decision in order for Israel to end its blockade."

    The cabinet also urged the Security Council member states to condemn Israel and force it to implement Resolution 1701, Aridi said, referring to the UN resolution that ended 34 days of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah on August 14.

    The government move came two days after Lebanese legislators began an open-ended sit-in at the parliament building to protest against the Israeli blockade of Beirut's airport and the country's seaports.

    Violation

    Resolution 1701 calls on Israel to lift its sea and air blockade of Lebanon. But, Israel says the restrictions are necessary to prevent Hezbollah from re-arming.

    Lebanon says that the delivery of food and medical supplies, and attempts to revive its badly battered economy are being hampered.

    Currently, Israel allows only Lebanese and Jordanian commercial flights to land in Beirut on condition that they make a stop in Amman before proceeding to the Lebanese capital.

    It has permitted flights carrying food and medical supplies from Egypt and Jordan to land in the Lebanese capital. Ships cleared by the Israelis are allowed entry to Lebanese seaports.

    Jihad Azour, the Lebanese finance minister, said Lebanon was losing about $40million daily in customs and added value tax revenues and commercial business.

    Nabih Berri, the Lebanese parliament speaker, urged Arab aeroplanes and ships to break the Israeli blockade on Saturday, describing it as a "military aggression".

    A Qatar Airways plane landed at Beirut airport on Monday carrying 142 passengers, the first commercial flight from the Gulf country to Lebanon since the war.

    Though company officials said the plane flew without Israeli permission, Israel said it had agreed to the flight and that more were expected.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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