UN Chief Plays down Israel-Lebanon Border Incidents
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Wednesday that Israeli violations of the newly drawn border with Lebanon were "really not major issues" and stuck to his finding that Israel's south Lebanon pullout was complete, reported Reuters.
Annan told reporters in Geneva that he had spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak about the infractions.
“I am determined to ensure that the line is respected," Barak said.
"I think these issues will be resolved in time. I take them seriously, they are irritations, but we will solve them," he said.
The UN chief said he had sent his Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen and the world body's chief cartographer Miklos Pinther, to the region this week for discussions on the newly drawn UN border, said Reuters.
Israel's deputy UN representative to the United Nations, Aaron Jacobs, said in a letter to the United Nations that Lebanon had so far refused to establish its authority in the affected areas, allowing violence to continue.
But Annan said that he was "generally pleased with the development on the ground and what we have achieved. I think the Lebanese government and Hizbollah have cooperated with our troops on the ground."
Meanwhile, an Israeli soldier on Wednesday was seriously injured by stones thrown from the Lebanese side of the border, reported AFP, quoting a military spokesman.
Since the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon on May 24th, 13 people have been wounded by Israeli fire at the Fatima Gate crossing, where this latest incident occurred, said AFP.
The wounded included three Lebanese, six Palestinians, and four Jordanians, according to Lebanese sources, said AFP - (Several Sources)
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