Annan Urges Lebanon to Deploy Troops along Israeli Border
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan renewed his appeal to Lebanon to prevent "dangerous provocation" by deploying troops along its border with Israel.
He said Lebanon must "assume its full international responsibilities, including putting an end to the dangerous provocation that have continued on the blue line" that separates it from Israel.
In a United Nations Security Council meeting, Annan warned Wednesday that Lebanon is in danger of becoming "an arena, albeit not necessarily the only one, of conflict between others" if it does not restore authority in its southernmost region, evacuated by Israeli troops on May 24 after 22 years of occupation.
As Palestinians launched uprisings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel and the Lebanese Shiite fundamentalist group Hizbollah exchanged attacks.
In one of the more serious incidents, three Israeli soldiers were captured on October 7 by Hizbollah guerrillas. Israel followed up by bombing southern Lebanon.
Annan emphasized that UN Security Council Resolution 425 requires, "first and foremost, that the government of Lebanon take effective control of the whole area vacated by Israel last spring."
The Lebanese government has consistently refused to send its army to police its border with Israel, as Annan requested during a brief visit to Beirut in early October.
Annan said that, given the volatile situation in the region, he "deemed it prudent" not to alter the mission of the 6,000 UN Interim Force troops who were deployed in southern Lebanon -- UNITED NATIONS (AFP)
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