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Call On Israel To Cease Over-Flights Of Lebanon

UN ENVOY CALLS ON ISRAEL TO CEASE OVER-FLIGHTS OF LEBANON

New York, Aug 10 2004 3:00PM

The senior United Nations envoy in southern Lebanon today called on Israel to end its numerous over-flights of Lebanese territory, calling them violations of the Blue Line marking the point of withdrawal between the two countries.

Voicing dismay at numerous such breaches over the last 36 hours, Staffan de Mistura, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Personal Representative for Southern Lebanon, reminded all parties that one violation cannot justify another.

He said the latest violations disturbed the relative calm that had returned to the Blue Line following increased tension last month when Israeli jets flew over Lebanon, including Beirut, at low altitude after two Israeli soldiers and a Hezbollah militant were killed in an exchange of fire.

There were six air violations today involving eight aircraft and four drones and four yesterday with five aircraft and eight helicopters. There were no reports of anti-aircraft fire.

Last month Mr. Annan recommended a six-month extension for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), set up to confirm Israel's withdrawal following a series of incursions and help the Lebanese Government restore its effective authority in the area. Citing the ongoing clashes, he warned that "considerable risk remains that hostile acts will escalate and lead the parties into conflict."

2004-08-10 00:00:00.000

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