Lebanon will consider Israel's pullout incomplete if it fails to include the disputed Shabaa farms but will respect whatever ruling the United Nations makes, Prime Minister Salim Hoss said Friday.
"Lebanon will not consider the Israeli withdrawal complete if these farms are not returned to Lebanon," Hoss said in an interview published in the French-language newspaper L'Orient-Le Jour.
"But we will respect the UN decision whatever it is," he was quoted as saying.
UN special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen has been shuttling between Lebanon, Israel and Syria in the last 10 days in a bid to verify that Israel has fully withdrawn to the international border, under UN Security Council resolution 425.
"For 22 years, we have been calling for the application of international resolutions. We cannot modify our position because one of them doesn't please us," Hoss said.
"Moreover, in his report, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan does not deny the Lebanese character of the Shabaa farms. He simply says that their restitution is not included in resolution 425," which calls for Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon.
Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara of Syria, the main power broker in Lebanon, said Wednesday that if Israel did not return Shabaa to Beirut as part of its May 24 withdrawal, it should certainly hand it over under a peace deal with Damascus.
Shabaa "must be returned to Lebanon (...) or Israel must withdraw from it under UN Security Council Resolution 242 demanding a pullout without delay from Syria's Golan Heights," Shara said after talks with Roed-Larsen.
Shabaa is adjacent to the Golan Heights, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Resolution 242 was adopted after the 1967 war, while resolution 425 was adopted after Israel's 1978 incursion of Lebanon -- BEIRUT (AFP)
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