Paper: UN Has Syrian Document Saying Shabaa is Lebanese
The United Nations has a Syrian document confirming that the disputed Israeli-occupied Shabaa Farms are Lebanese territory, said a Beirut paper which published the text on Tuesday.
"This is the first Syrian document asserting that the Shabaa Farms are Lebanese territory," wrote the al-Mustaqbal newspaper, owned by Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
The document is a letter sent October 24 by Mikhael Wehbe, Syria's permanent representative to the United Nations, to the president of the UN Security Council, al Mustaqbal said.
The letter said "Israel did not complete its troop pullout from southern Lebanon until the internationally-recognized borders, including the Shabaa Farms."
It also asked the Security Council president to consider the letter as "a document among the documents of the Security Council."
Al Mustaqbal said the "letter's importance is that it is the first Syrian official written document delivered to the Security Council which recognized the Shabaa Farms as Lebanese territory, after the confusion that prevailed at the United Nations and its demand for a written Syrian (document)."
The paper said Wehbe's letter came in response to an Israeli letter sent to the Security Council on October 7 in which the Jewish state blamed Lebanon and Syria for the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers by guerrillas of the Lebanese Shiite radical Hizbollah from the Shabaa Farms.
On Monday, Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmud Hammud said "Syria sent a letter to the UN two months ago in which it says it considers that Israel has not fully applied resolution 425 and calls for it to complete its withdrawal ... including from the Shabaa farms."
The Shabaa Farms are in a mountainous region at the Lebanese-Syrian borders occupied by Israel since 1967 and are covered by UN resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
The Israeli troop pullout from southern Lebanon in May after 22 years of occupation was in line with UN Security Council Resolution 425 of 1978.
Lebanon and Syria considered that the Israeli withdrawal in May was incomplete without the Shabaa Farms, and therefore Lebanese guerrillas had the right and duty to regain it by all means.
Israel maintains that it seized the Farms from Syria and thus would only return them within a peace agreement with Damascus – BEIRUT (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)