UN Report On South Warns Of 'Potential For Escalation'
Despite the prevailing calm in South Lebanon, the continued Israeli overflights and Hizbullah’s anti-aircraft fire “carry substantial potential for escalation,” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in his six-month report on UNIFIL. In the report, which is due to be debated by the UN Security Council at the beginning of next week, Annan said that UNIFIL’s area of operations had remained “generally quiet but tense” since his previous report in January. He described as “encouraging” the lack of military activity in the Shebaa Farms and the rapid progress made in the demining effort in the South, but called for an “increased focus” on the economic development of the region. The report was notable for being the first in UNIFIL’s 25-year history to record a complete absence of fighting between Israel and groups based in Lebanon. But the repeated Israeli overflights and the retaliatory anti-aircraft (AA) fire from Hizbullah continue to alarm the UN, a concern reinforced by the wounding of two Israeli civilians in Shelomi on Tuesday by falling AA shrapnel. Full Story