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Lifting Of Blockade A Victory: Annan

Lifting Of Blockade Against Lebanon A Victory For International Efforts: Annan

New York, Sep 7 2006 2:00PM

Welcoming today’s lifting of the Israeli blockade against Lebanon, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said it was a victory for the intensive international efforts of recent days, as he met with Spanish officials on the last leg of two weeks of shuttle diplomacy to shore up the cessation of hostilities agreement that ended the recent conflict.

“He said this would allow Lebanon to press ahead with recovery and reconstruction without impediment and added, ‘I am really pleased that we have all rallied’ and that, if the international community continues to pool its efforts, it will succeed,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric summed up Mr. Annan’s comments.

“That lifting follows the intensive consultations the Secretary-General has had with European and Middle Eastern leaders in recent days, in person and by phone, trying to get the issues around the blockade resolved,” he told reporters in New York.

In Spain today, Mr. Annan met with Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero who said he would propose that Spanish troops join the strengthened UN force in Lebanon, as called for by Security Council resolution 1701 that ended the fighting on 14 August.

“The Secretary-General also said he was very pleased that Prime Minister Zapatero decided to recommend to the Spanish Parliament that Spanish troops join other European countries in helping to stabilize Lebanon,” Mr. Dujarric said, adding that Mr. Annan also reiterated that recent troop contributions to the enhanced UN force were “a sign of international solidarity for the people of Lebanon.

The Secretary-General also met King Juan Carlos of Spain and the Foreign Minister to brief them on the situation in the Middle East and he is now on his way back to New York, his spokesman said.

Ends

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