Lebanese PM: Israel still Violating Lebanese Soil
Lebanese Prime Minister Salim Hoss, who is due to hold talks Monday with UN special envoy Terje Road-Larsen on the planned deployment of peacekeeping forces, has told a leading newspaper in Beirut that Israel has not ended its encroachments into southern Lebanon.
"There are still violations which have not been corrected," Hoss told An-Nahar.
He made the remarks after receiving a report from a team of experts who had spent five days checking on the ground whether Israel had rectified its encroachments into Lebanese territory.
Beirut has rejected any re-deployment of the UN Interim Forces in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) into the border zone until the encroachments are ended.
Roed-Larsen, who arrived in the Lebanese capital from Damascus on Sunday, was expected to meet Monday with President Emile Lahoud, Hoss and senior Lebanese experts at the presidential palace in Beirut's northeastern suburbs of Baabda.
Beirut newspapers said Monday's meeting could be "decisive," as any positive outcome could open the way for the re-deployment of UNIFIL troops in southern Lebanon up to the borders with Israel.
UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said Friday in New York that there were still two "technical" encroachments by Israel into southern Lebanon which the Jewish state agreed to correct by the end the month.
In a report to the UN Security Council, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan confirmed that "the government of Israel has committed itself to the removal of all Israeli violations by the end of July."
Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq Shara, after his meeting Saturday with Roed-Larsen, called for the United Nations and Lebanon to work together to stop "all incursions and violations" by Israeli of Lebanese territory.
Shara said it was necessary for UNIFIL to "accomplish its assigned security tasks to deprive Israel of any pretext that could threaten the security and stability of the region."
UN Security Council Resolution 425, adopted shortly after the Israeli invasion in 1978, called for a UNIFIL deployment after the Israeli pullout to establish security and help Lebanon secure its authority over the region - BEIRUT (AFP)
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