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Switzerland welcomes UN resolution on Lebanon

A Lebanese flag flies beside a building in southern Beirut destroyed by Israeli air strikes

(Keystone)

The Swiss foreign ministry has welcomed the United Nations Security Council resolution seeking a "full cessation" of violence between Israel and Hezbollah.

The resolution, adopted unanimously, authorizes 15,000 UN peacekeepers to help Lebanese troops take control of south Lebanon. A ceasefire is expected to come into effect on Monday.

The attacks by "both sides must be stopped and a resumption of hostilities prevented in order to put an end to the suffering of the civilian population," the Swiss foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

It said long-term stability could only be achieved if the warring parties respected the so-called "Blue Line" between Israel and Lebanon. It also called on the establishment of Lebanon's full sovereignty and a solution to the territorial claims made by the various parties to the Sheeba Farms.

Switzerland said it would continue to support financially the UN force in Lebanon.

The foreign ministry added that it would be decisive how quickly and comprehensively the resolution was implemented. It said it would continue its humanitarian aid to the civilian population and was prepared to contribute to Lebanon's reconstruction.

Human Rights Council

Switzerland abstained from another UN resolution passed on Friday, this time by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council. Proposed by Islamic states, it was passed by a majority of 27-11.

The resolution made no mention of Hezbollah's attacks on Israel.

Speaking to swissinfo after the vote, the Swiss ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Blaise Godet, said the final resolution was not balanced, hence the Swiss abstention.

"We are not enthusiastic about the result, which we consider to be asymmetrical and unbalanced. But it still contains certain elements that we agree with."

Other European countries as well as Canada and Japan voted against it for the same reason. The vote is the second held in the Council since it replaced the discredited Human Rights Commission earlier this year.

"The credibility of the new Council is at stake. It needs to find answers to the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon and to end human rights abuses," Godet said.

In its first vote in July, the Council – set up on a Swiss initiative – passed a declaration condemning Israel's attacks in the Occupied Territories, which was also put forward by Islamic states.

Offensive

The final resolution also called for an immediate end to Israel's offensive in Lebanon.

According to Godet, the main consequence of the vote is the decision to send a delegation to investigate alleged human rights violations in Lebanon.

"Unfortunately, we would have liked this mission to investigate all alleged violations, both in Israel and Lebanon, on both sides of the frontier."

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Switzerland was elected to the Human Rights Council with a three-year mandate on May 9.
It is one of 47 countries on the new body, which replaced the discredited Human Rights Commission.
The council, which stems from a Swiss initiative, meets three times a year, and can convene emergency sessions.

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In brief

The UN Security Council resolution, approved on Friday, comes after a month of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon.

More than 1,100 Lebanese have been killed mostly in Israeli air strikes, and at least 106 Israelis, including around 40 civilians who died in Hezbollah rocket attacks.

On Friday in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council condemned the Israeli offensive. Eight countries abstained from the vote, including Switzerland.

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