Lebanese PM Discusses Israeli Retreat with Annan

Published May 19th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Lebanese Prime Minister Salim Hoss telephoned UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Friday to explain Lebanon's claim to the Farms of Shebaa region, officials here said. 

Hoss and Annan reportedly reviewed documents sent by Lebanon that show, in Hoss' view, that the area on the Syrian-Lebanese border, held by Israel since 1967, is on Lebanese territory. 

"The documents recently sent to Annan prove the sovereignty of Lebanon over the Farms of Shebaa and the upcoming Israeli retreat, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 425, must encompass that," Hoss told Annan. 

Annan promised to study the Lebanese documents in detail, Hoss' office said. 

Resolution 425 calls for Israel's complete withdrawal from southern Lebanon, which Israel has held for 22 years and says it will leave by July 7. Beirut says the withdrawal would not be complete if Israel holds onto the Farms of Shebaa. 

Israel has said the farms are on Syrian territory and that their fate will be determined as part of any Syrian-Israeli peace agreement. 

Hoss says he sent Annan two documents Monday showing that a Lebanese-Syrian border commission dating from 1964 to 1967 recognized a border in line with Lebanese land surveys. 

On May 12, Beirut sent Annan a memorandum demanding Israel's withdrawal from the farms, accompanied by eight other documents to support Lebanon's demand. The documents included copies of a 1954-55 land survey, 1942 property titles, a 1966 trail map and a 1929 construction permit issued to a Farms of Shebaa residents by the Lebanese government. 

The Shebaa farms are on a plateau, which lies on the slopes of Mount Hermon at a height of about 1,500 meters (5,000 feet), and is a vital source of water, with the Wazzani River flowing over the Golan into the Sea of Galilee -- BEIRUT (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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