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Lebanon rejects U.N. draft

Insists it must include an explicit demand for a full Israeli pullout


  • Five Lebanese killed in Israeli airstrike
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    BEIRUT: Lebanon on Sunday rejected a draft U.N. resolution calling for an end to the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah, insisting it must include an explicit demand for a full Israeli pullout from south Lebanon.

    Officials said Beirut was also disappointed because the draft, sponsored by France and the United States did not offer hope of an immediate ceasefire or return of the contested Shebaa Farms area, annexed by Israel.

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem slammed the resolution as a "recipe" for a continuation of the current conflict.

    Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over telephone that Beirut was unhappy with the current text, a government source told AFP.

    The draft resolution, which demands a "full cessation of hostilities" between Hizbollah and Israel, makes no call for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from south Lebanon and a halt to all attacks.

    "Lebanon insists that a ceasefire is accompanied by a withdrawal of the Israeli army beyond the Blue Line (border)," the government source told AFP.

    "The Lebanese army would then deploy up to the Lebanese-Israeli frontier with the assistance of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, reinforced by countries who have already said they are ready to send troops immediately," the source cited Mr. Siniora telling Ms. Rice.

    "The Lebanese government would not be able to prevent Hizbollah from using arms if a part of Lebanon is reoccupied by Israel," Mr. Siniora reportedly said.

    He was clear that the draft failed to meet the demands of his government. "It does not really achieve the objective that they have set for themselves," he told CNN.

    Fighting continues

    In continued fighting, five civilians were killed early on Sunday when Israeli aircraft bombed a house in the southern Lebanese village of Ansar. — Agencies

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