UN Envoy: Conditions not Right to Deploy Peacekeepers in Lebanon
UN special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said Friday that conditions were still not in place for the deployment of UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, more than six weeks after Israeli troops withdrew from the region.
Roed-Larsen addressed reporters after meeting with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and Prime Minister Salim Hoss to discuss Israel's continued violations of the border.
He said the issue of deploying units of the Lebanese army or of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) had not come up during the meeting.
"UNIFIL will only deploy with a full acceptance of the Lebanese government, and the position of the government is that UNIFIL will not deploy before the violations are over," he said.
Roed-Larsen described the three-hour meeting as "very constructive" and "cordial."
He said they concentrated on the "blue line" drawn on June 6th to mark the UN-established border between Israel and Lebanon, on Israeli border violations and on plans for a conference of donor countries to help in the reconstruction of southern Lebanon.
He said several points had been "clarified" and that he will return to Lebanon at the end of next week to "continue consultations on the several matters which were discussed ... today."
A statement from Lahoud's office said Lebanon continues to object to three points along the blue line -- Msgav Am, Metulla and Rmeich -- that it says are inconsistent with the international border.
It said Lebanon "reiterates its position on the necessity of amendments so that it (the blue line) is in conformity" with the international border.
But the statement said the two parties agreed that Lebanon's list of Israeli violations was "in conformity with that of the UN, which is working to eliminate them," adding that it would resume talks with Roed-Larsen next Thursday.
Roed-Larsen was accompanied by chief UN cartographer Miklos Pinther and by deputy UNIFIL commander General James Srenen - BEIRUT (AFP)
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