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Middle East Supportive Of Security Council

Middle East Countries Supportive Of Security Council: Lebanon,

Following a series of diplomatic meetings with top leaders across the Middle East, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said the region is supportive of the Security Council resolution which ended the hostilities in Lebanon, and countries are stepping forward to contribute troops for an international force there.

"I am leaving the region convinced that Lebanon takes the resolution seriously and is intending to implement it to the fullest," the Secretary-General declared. "The Israelis have given me the same assurance. And in the capitals I have visited, from Syria to Tehran, and now here, everyone supports the resolution," Mr. Annan told reporters in Qatar at a joint press conference with the country's Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr Al-Thani.

With an international consensus, "all governments in this region and beyond will have to support its implementation," he continued, referring to Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the hostilities and authorized an expanded United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). "I don't see any government that wants to isolate itself by working against the Lebanese and international interests, and we all need to work together to get it done."

The Secretary-General said there currently exists an opportunity "not only to stabilize Lebanon, but to build on that achievement, if we succeed, to expand our efforts to the other peace tracks, the Palestinian and Syrian tracks."

Qatar has provided "very strong and consistent support," he said, noting that as a member of the Security Council, the country plays a key role.

The Secretary-General said UNIFIL currently includes a geographically broad range of troops, including those from China, India and Ghana. "And in addition to the European forces deploying, we will be bringing in troops from Indonesia, Malaysia and possibly Nepal," he said.

The international force constitutes "a manifestation of international solidarity" the Secretary-General said, voicing hope that this will continue as Lebanon embarks on reconstruction and recovery.

Responding to press questions, the Secretary-General repeated his call for a lifting of the Israeli blockade against Lebanon. "It is a particularly destructive act because it is at a time when Lebanon is trying to reconstruct and needs to bring in material and get its commerce going to be able to rebuild," he said.

The Secretary-General was in Qatar following stops in Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Iran.

Ends

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