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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Urgent’ need for de-escalation in Hezbollah-Israel conflict, assert US senators


BEIRUT ‌— Amid escalating tensions along Lebanon’s southern border, the Israeli military and Hezbollah have a critical opportunity to de-escalate the situation before a potential Israeli military strike against the Lebanese armed group, according ⁤to two Democratic⁤ U.S. ‌senators, Chris Coons ⁤and Richard Blumenthal, who⁤ spoke ⁤to Reuters ‍on Wednesday.

The senators were touring the region,⁤ which has been embroiled in conflict since Hamas’ attack on⁤ Israel on Oct. 7, prompting a⁤ robust Israeli ⁣response involving air, land, and sea assaults on Gaza.

In Lebanon, the Israeli shelling⁢ has resulted in the death of nearly 190 Hezbollah fighters and 50 civilians. Meanwhile, in ⁣northern Israel, 12 Israeli troops ‌and five civilians have lost their lives, with tens of thousands displaced on both sides.

“The upcoming weeks are a pivotal moment — not just for Gaza ‍and Israel, but also for⁣ Lebanon, the Red⁢ Sea, and Iraq,” Coons ⁣stated, emphasizing that a Gaza⁢ cease-fire could have ⁤”beneficial ripple effects” for Lebanon.

“This could open up a‍ 45-day window, possibly ​coinciding with Ramadan, where the next steps towards⁤ building confidence can be initiated, potentially leading to the full implementation‌ of ⁢the United Nations Security Council resolution 1701,” he added.

The 2006 resolution, which marked the end⁤ of the last significant conflict between Hezbollah and⁤ Israel, stipulates that no armed groups should be present in a large portion of southern ⁢Lebanon, with the exception of the Lebanese army.

Earlier this month, France⁢ presented a ‍written proposal to Lebanon regarding a potential ‍diplomatic⁢ resolution. U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein has also been developing a plan, which⁣ Coons​ expressed hope was “making steady progress”, ⁢without divulging further details. He emphasized the “urgency” for both parties to de-escalate.

The senators ‍relayed to ‍Lebanese Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, who leads the Hezbollah-allied Amal Movement, that Israel “is not merely posturing” about a potential offensive.

“This is not empty rhetoric. Israel will take action. We ‌sincerely hope that this message was effectively ⁤communicated to Hezbollah,” Blumenthal stated.

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  1. Agree – It is imperative for both sides to work towards de-escalation in order to prevent further violence and loss of life.


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