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LEBANON: UN Envoy Discusses Way Forward

LEBANON: UN Envoy Discusses Way Forward With European Foreign Ministers

New York, Jul 18 2005

A senior United Nation official today briefed European Union (EU) Foreign Ministers on the situation in Lebanon, including the withdrawal of Syrian military and intelligence personnel and the disarming and disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias as mandated by the UN Security Council.

Terje Roed-Larsen, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Envoy for the implementation of Council resolution 1559, which calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon, disbanding all militias and extending Government control over the whole country, met with the ministers in Brussels at the invitation of the EU Presidency, at present held by Britain.

The discussions focussed on implementing the terms of the resolution, and included the results of the recent parliamentary elections and the ongoing conflict-ridden efforts to form a new government, spokesperson Marie Okabe told the daily UN briefing in New York.

In spite of significant progress on some of the provisions of the resolution, Mr. Roed-Larsen underlined the necessity for the full implementation of all the requirements of resolution 1559, she said. He expressed his concern over the rising tensions in Syrian-Lebanese relations on economic and security related issues.

The meeting was chaired by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. After the discussions, Mr. Roed-Larsen called on all parties to continue to use dialogue and he made an appeal to wisdom and sensibility, based on the Lebanese people's right to political independence and economic well-being.

Ms. Okabe quoted him as saying: "The meeting was constructive and forward looking. It displayed a remarkable international similarity and consensus in policy related to 1559. This is reflected in the conclusions of the meeting released by the British presidency of the EU."

Mr. Roed-Larsen, who earlier this year shuttled between Syria and Lebanon to broker an agreement on this spring's Syrian military withdrawal from its smaller neighbour, stays in close contact with the key players and has over the last few days spoken extensively with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Prime Minister designate Fuad Siniora and others.

ENDS

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