The shuttle diplomacy of Kofi Annan has paid off with Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad promising to stop the flow of arms from his country across the border with Lebanon. It is one of several measures Damascus has pledged, giving support to the UN ceasefire resolution.
The United Nations’ chief has welcomed Syria’s response and listed some of the proposals: “Establishing liaison mechanisms with Lebanese armed forces, establishing Lebanon border police and international personnel, providing technical assistance to Lebanon in order to set up an effective interdiction regime.”
But Syria is maintaining its opposition to the deployment of UN peacekeepers on its border with Lebanon. It says the Lebanese army should be sufficient but has offered joint patrols in the region. Meanwhile, as a condition of the ceasefire, Lebanese troops with UN military support have now taken up position on the frontier with Israel. Tel Aviv says its soldiers have handed over more than two thirds of the territory they captured during the conflict with Hizbollah.