Lebanon Drops Objection to UN Report on Israeli Withdrawal
Lebanon has lifted its objections to an announcement by the United Nations confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces from its territory, members of the UN Security Council said late Saturday, reported AFP.
Lebanon's refusal to accept the announcement, made on Friday by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, prevented the council endorsing it in a formal statement Saturday, diplomats were quoted by the agency as saying.
Russia, which is a permanent member of the council with the power of veto over its decisions, said it would not accept any text that did not satisfy the government in Beirut, AFP said.
But after a long telephone conference call including US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the Lebanese president, Emile Lahoud, Lebanon dropped its objections late Saturday, diplomats said.
The council president, French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, scheduled a council meeting for 10:00 a.m. Sunday (1400 GMT) and a text was expected to be adopted "within five minutes," they added.
Lebanon had asked the 15-member body to wait until it could check six or seven border positions and make sure Israeli forces were withdrawn, diplomats said, quoted by BBC.online.
But most members did not want to give Beirut more time as Annan, currently traveling to seven Middle East nations, wanted immediate council approval, the BBC said.
Canada's deputy representative on the council, Michel Duval, said: "Our task today is to endorse the report of the secretary-general and to send a strong message to that effect." – (Several Sources)
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