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Issue Of Palestinian Militias In Lebanon

UN Envoy To Raise Issue Of Palestinian Militias In Lebanon With Two Leaders

New York, Oct 17 2005

The United Nations envoy seeking an end to foreign interference in Lebanon arrived in Paris today for meetings with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, during which he is expected to raise the question of Palestinian militias in Lebanon.

Terje Roed-Larsen, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Envoy for implementing Security Council resolution 1559, which calls for withdrawing all foreign forces from Lebanon, disbanding all militias, extending Government control over the whole country and holding free elections, will meet with the two leaders separately.

The meetings come ahead of a summit between the two leaders in Paris tomorrow, initiated by the UN.

Mr. Roed-Larsen will travel later on Tuesday to London to confer with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and other British officials, before returning to New York in the evening to report to the Secretary-General on progress in implementing the Resolution.

The envoy earlier this year shuttled between Syria and Lebanon to broker an agreement on this spring's Syrian military withdrawal from its smaller neighbour, after nearly 20 years of a military presence, following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Mr. Annan said today he expects to receive a report before the weekend from the head of the UN inquiry into the assassination, Detlev Mehlis, and will then decide on the possible extension of the probe.

The UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) was set up by the Security Council to probe the bomb attack which killed Mr. Hariri and 20 others, after an initial UN fact-finding mission found Lebanon's own probe seriously flawed and declared Syria, with its troops present, primarily responsible for the political tension preceding the assassination.

ENDS

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