Mofaz warns Hizbullah, rejects Lebanese compromise regarding Wazzani River pumping station
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz warned Monday that if the Lebanese Hizbullah members fire long-range missiles at Israeli cities, Israel may be compelled to counterattack, Israeli Army Radio reported.
The radio also quoted Mofaz as saying that while he believed Iran was closer than Iraq to developing nuclear weapons, an American-led offensive against Saddam Hussein would deliver a very clear message to Tehran also.
Mofaz is in Washington, where he is making his first visit since becoming Defense Minister last month. The hawkish former general said Syria had allowed Hizbullah to deploy hundreds of missiles capable of hitting Israeli cities.
"South Lebanon today is in fact under the complete control of Hizbullah — we call it Hizbulistan," Mofaz was quoted by the radio. "They (Syria) allow Hizbullah to use Lebanese soil as a launching pad for attacks against Israel."
The radio quoted Mofaz as saying that if Syria or Hizbullah's Iranian mentors did nothing to rein in the group, Israel would have to remove the missiles itself.
"I think that if Hizbullah opens a second front against Israel by using long-range rockets against the northern part of the state of Israel we won't have much choice," Mofaz said.
Meanwhile, Israel has rejected a request by Lebanon for the two countries to reach an agreement that would allow Lebanon to continue pumping water from the Wazzani River, Mofaz told United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday. The request was made via Annan, who presented the proposal to Mofaz during their meeting in New York.
According to the proposal, Lebanon would continue pumping water from the tributary of the Hasbani River, but would introduce a meter to guarantee that the amount pumped would not exceed a certain level.
Mofaz said the proposal was unacceptable, on the grounds that Lebanon was attempting to make the suggestion seem to be a unilateral move. The Israeli defense minister said that the United States must continue with its efforts to reach a resolution on the matter. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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