|Foreign Minister Levy Meets UN Secretary-General Annan
(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
Yesterday (April 4), Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan met in Geneva, and decided upon cooperation between Israel and the UN in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 425.
Foreign Minister Levy came to Geneva in order to brief the Secretary General on the decision taken by the Government of Israel to withdraw from Lebanon by July 2000, and to hear from him about the intentions of the UN in this regard.
Mr. Annan told Mr. Levy that he, as Secretary General of the UN, is mandated to implement Resolution 425, and that he intends to establish, as soon as possible, a mechanism to formulate a joint plan of action for the full implementation of this Security Council Resolution.
The Secretary General thanked Minister Levy for coming to update him on the issue, and expressed his hope that the parties would find a way to prevent escalation, violence and a deterioration of the situation in Lebanon. He added that he sees no need for the adoption of any new resolutions, beyond Resolutions 425 and 426, and that any further decisions on the subject will only be discussed if the United Nations concludes that it is necessary to reinforce the UNIFIL force in the area. He also stated that it is important to prevent the creation of a vacuum following the withdrawal, in order to deny all elements any pretext for causing a deterioration in the situation during the course of the withdrawal, which will carried out in a single phase.
Foreign Minister Levy told the Secretary General that Israel stands ready to assist and to cooperate with the UN in any way necessary, in order to secure calm and stability in Lebanon and to prevent escalation and bloodshed. Minister Levy stressed that the decision of the Israeli government regarding the withdrawal is unconditional and independent of other factors. However, if the UN should desire cooperation, it will find Israel to be fully cooperative.
Levy stated: "Israel needs no assistance regarding her our security. Anyone attempting to harm Israel will encounter a reaction so grave, that he will regret it seven-fold."
Levy also stressed the need to act on the humanitarian level to secure the well-being of members of the South Lebanon Army.
Levy raised as well the issue of the 13 Jews being held in Iran, and the fate of Rod Arad.