Kharrazi in Beirut and Damascus, calls for restraint in south Lebanon

Published April 12th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi arrived in Damascus Friday from Beirut for talks with Syrian officials on the raging cycle of violence in the Middle East in the wake of the Israeli incursions into Palestinian lands and southern Lebanon.  

 

According to IRNA, the Iranian FM was scheduled to meet with several Syrian officials, including President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minster Faruq al-Shara during the short stay.  

 

In Lebanon, the Iranian minister held discussions with President Emile Lahoud, Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hamoud, during which the ongoing developments in the region were examined.  

 

On Thursday, Kharrazi called for restraint in south Lebanon to avoid further deterioration of the situation between Lebanon and Israel. 

 

Speaking to reporters at Beirut Airport, where he arrived for an official visit, he said: “We should observe restraint to avoid giving Israel an excuse to extend its war” beyond the Israeli border, in anticipation of a failure against the intifada. 

 

He said the visit was aimed at consulting with Lebanon on the current situation. He dismissed allegations that Terhan was indirectly responsible for the events on the southern Lebanese border and in Palestinian-held territories. 

 

“These activities are related to this area and Iran is not involved in them,” he said. 

 

On Thursday, one day after its heaviest assault along the border in recent years, Hizbullah again attacked Israeli outposts in the Shebaa Farms, drawing a counter-punch from Israeli jets and artillery gunners. 

 

Two Israeli warplanes fired six missiles at hills on the outskirts of the village of Kfar Shuba. Israeli artillery also shelled suspected guerrilla positions in nearby areas. 

 

The Israeli air and artillery action followed Hizbullah’s firing of some 20 mortar shells and rockets on Israeli outposts in Ramta, Rowsat Allam and Samaka, with the first position taking a hit, according to local police. 

 

Hizbullah issued a statement in Beirut, saying its fighters scored “direct hits” in the 6pm attack on the three Israeli outposts. An Israeli army spokesman confirmed the Hizbullah attacks and Israeli retaliations. (Albawaba.com) 

© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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