Arab League calls on UN to oversee peace talks and press Israel to end Lebanon closure
Foreign ministers of the Arab League met for an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday, where they agreed to call on the United Nations Security Council to oversee renewed talks between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
The proposal, set forth by Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, calls for UN Council members to convene in September to discuss UN mediation of Israeli-Arab peace-talks.
"We all agree that the peace process failed, and that we therefore need to get to the bottom of the matter with the mediation of the UN and the Security Council," Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa stated, according to Ynet.
"As a reminder, we have the Arab peace plan which was approved during the 2003 Arab Summit," Mousa added.
The ministers also agreed unanimously to call on the Security Council to press Israel to end its current aerial and naval closure on Lebanon. In addition, ministers agreed to support Lebanon and assist it in its rehabilitation process, as well as supervise the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 and any Israeli violations to it.
The meeting marked the third time the Arab League had convened since the beginning of the war in Lebanon.
Lebanese PM says now is the time for Israel to consider peace
Also on Sunday, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora stated that in the wake of the recent war with Lebanon, Israel has a new opportunity to reach a peace treaty with Beirut.
Siniora added that in order for Israel to take advantage of the momentous opportunity, it must act wisely.
"I believe that if Israel acts wisely, a possibility can be created in the area to allow us to advance to peace," The premier stated, according to the AFP.
Israel denies recent raid was breach of cease-fire
Meanwhile, the Israel army denied that its recent raid in eastern Lebanon near Baalbek was a breach of then UN brokered cease-fire agreement with Lebanon.
Following the Israeli commando raid on Saturday, however, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed deep concern over the incident, saying that it represented a violation of the cease-fire.
"The secretary-general is deeply concerned about a violation by the Israeli side of the cessation of hostilities as laid out in Security Council resolution 1701," said a UN statement posted on the organization's website, according to Haaretz.
The Israeli military, though, has maintained that the raid was not in fact a breach of the agreement as the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 calls for an embargo on arms shipments to Hezbollah.
As no mechanism has yet been put in place to enforce such a stipulation, Israel has no choice but to act if it can be determined that arms shipments are being made to Hizbulla from Syria.
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