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UN envoy backs Lebanon's approach to Palestinian m

UN envoy backs Lebanon's approach to Palestinian militias

A senior United Nations Lebanon holding talks in Beirut today with the country's officials hailed their integrated approach to the presence of Palestinian militias.

In meeting with Prime Minister Fouad Seniora, Terje Roed-Larsen lauded the initiative to dispatch a ministerial-level delegation to Palestinian refugee camps yesterday.

The Norwegian diplomat emphasized that the UN was in full agreement and support of the integrated approach the cabinet was pursuing, stating that it was important to view issues relating to the Palestinian militias in Lebanon not only through the lens of security, but also take into account political, social, and economic factors.

Mr. Roed-Larsen called on the international community to lend its assistance to the Government's engagement to improve the conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

Also today, the envoy held talks with Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat; Phalange party leader and former President Amine Gemayel;l FPM leader General Michel Aoun; Ghassan Tueni, the father of murdered MP Gibran Tueni; former Prime Minister Najib Mikati; former MP Suleiman Franjieh and a number of other Lebanese political representatives.

During all his discussions, the UN Special Envoy emphasized again the historical significance of the ongoing National Dialogue in Lebanon, which was guided by the Taif Agreement that the Lebanese were now seeking to implement. Mr. Roed –Larsen, whose mandate derives from Security Council Resolution 1559, said that text was a reflection of the Taif Agreement and was the international reiteration of the Agreement, which was negotiated among the Lebanese in 1989.

The UN diplomat also reiterated his view that dialogue and partnership between Lebanon and Syria were indispensable in moving forward, and that the most urgent items on the agenda were now the demarcation of the common border between the two neighbouring countries and the establishment of formal diplomatic relations.

Mr. Roed-Larsen will continue his talks in Beirut tomorrow, before returning to New York to brief Secretary-General Annan and prepare Annan's report to the Security Council, expected in mid-April this year.

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