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UN Force Commander Discusses Troop Movements

UN Force Commander Discusses Troop Movements With Lebanese And Israeli Officers

New York, Sep 11 2006 1:00PM

The United Nations military commander in Lebanon today discussed the continued Israeli withdrawal and Lebanese military advance into more parts of the country’s south with officers from both sides, saying they understood the need to proceed without further delay.

This was the sixth meeting between UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Force Commander Major-General Alain Pellegrini and senior representatives of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) since Security Council resolution 1701 ended the conflict on 14 August.

“The meeting was very fruitful and we discussed in detail the further withdrawal of the IDF from Lebanon. I believe that this process is going well and that both sides understand the need to proceed accordingly without any further delay,” said Maj.-Gen. Pellegrini in a press release.

The meeting took place in the UNIFIL position at the border crossing of Ras Naqoura. The UN Force, which is coordinating the troop movements, has already overseen the Lebanese army advance into some towns of the south where it has not been for 30 years.

UNIFIL currently has around 3,500 soldiers on the ground in southern Lebanon, following the arrival of more than 200 French troops last Saturday, a UN spokesman said today. The Force also has a naval task force made up of four Italian ships and one each from France, Greece and the United Kingdom helping monitor Lebanon’s maritime boundary after Israel lifted its blockade last week.

Troops from UNIFIL are also continuing their humanitarian efforts, with soldiers distributing 184,000 litres of water over the past three days to help ease the chronic shortage in the south. In addition, the Chinese battalion destroyed 241 pieces of unexploded ordnance and cleared 1,346 metres of road. UNIFIL is also continuing to provide medical and veterinary assistance to benefit the local population.

Ends

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