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Independent UN team heads to Lebanon to assess border security

25 May 2007 A five-member United Nations team is heading to Lebanon next week to assess the monitoring of the country’s border with Syria amid concern at reports of illegal arms movements.

The team, comprised of experts in border security, police, customs and military issues, is scheduled to arrive in Beirut on Monday and then spend two to three weeks in the country, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters today.

Known as the Lebanon Independent Border Assessment Team, it will hold consultations with Lebanese officials and bilateral partners already assisting Lebanon on border monitoring, review existing border security arrangements and travel to the border region.

The team is then expected to devise recommendations for additional help, training and equipment to enhance the security of the Lebanese-Syrian border and report back to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on its findings.

In a presidential statement issued last month, the Security Council called on Mr. Ban to send such a team after expressing “serious concern at mounting information by Israel and another State of illegal movements of arms” across the border between Lebanon and Syria. This is one of the issues addressed in resolution 1701, which last August ended the 34-day war between Israel and Hizbollah.

At the same time, the Council members welcomed the Lebanese Government’s expressed determination and steps taken to prevent such movements. Noting that Syria has stated it has taken its own measures in this area, the 15-member panel reiterated its call on Damascus to take further steps to reinforce border controls.

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