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UN envoy on Lebanon issues talks with Arab leaders

Senior UN envoy on Lebanon issues starts talks with key Arab leaders

Beginning a round of meetings with key Arab leaders in the Middle East, a senior United Nations envoy dealing with Lebanon today held what he called “constructive” talks with senior officials in Saudi Arabia.

Terje Roed-Larsen, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Envoy for the implementation of Security Council 1559, which focuses on an end to foreign interference in Lebanon, met in Riyadh today with Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz and Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.

Mr. Roed-Larsen lauded the important role played by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the efforts to resolve the multiple conflicts in the Middle East. He characterized his talks with Saudi leaders as “constructive and forward-looking” with a “strong convergence of views.”

“We are working hand in hand, and the Secretary-General and I are looking forward to continuing this partnership,” he said.

Subject of the talks was the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559, which calls for the strict respect of Lebanon's sovereignty and political independence, the withdrawal of foreign forces, and the disarming and disbanding of militias in the country.

Discussions focused in particular on the ongoing national dialogue among all factions in Lebanon, which to date has yielded a consensus on the need to establish formal diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon and to delineate in full the international border between the two countries.

“The implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 is proceeding in the context of a difficult and tense climate in the region, where a number of fires are burning at present, all of which impact on our efforts to fully implement the resolution,” said the envoy, who recently completed meetings in the capitals of all permanent members of the Security Council: China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.

He emphasized that achieving all the objectives outlined in resolution 1559 “remains high on the Secretary-General's agenda.”

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