The New York Times reported today that governments in the region have conveyed to Kofi Annan that the “single biggest impediment to beginning the restoration of Lebanon” is the Israeli blockade. The reason the Israelis give for not lifting it is the fact that they don’t see the UN force that is currently deployed as capable of filling the vacuum they will leave behind. Most noticeably the German fleet that is supposed to patrol the shores of Lebanon is set to arrive two weeks from now.
But Kofi has come up with a plan,
I'm just wondering why Seniora is stonewalling on the formal authorization of the German commitment to fulfilling resolution 1701. Why this posturing over semantics?
Mr. Siniora and Ehud Olmert...have disagreed on the sequence of events, Mr. Annan said. Mr. Siniora wants Israel to end its blockade before he authorizes the German assignment, Mr. Annan said. But he said Mr. Olmert had told him Israel would lift the blockade only after word that the Germans were officially committed.
- Under the plan, Mr. Chirac's announcement would bring an immediate dispatch of French, Italian and Greek vessels to patrol for two weeks, the time needed for a promised German fleet to arrive.
- The second step is a letter to Mr. Annan from Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, formally authorizing the Germans to take up their positions off Lebanon.
- The third and final step that Mr. Annan hopes for is an announcement that Israel will lift the blockade.