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UN Envoy Meet On Rocket Firing

Lebanese Leaders, UN Envoy Meet On Rocket Firing; Old Weapons Cache Found

New York, Jan 9 2009 2:10PM

One day after at least three rockets were fired into Israel from south Lebanon, the top United Nations envoy there met with Lebanese leaders to discuss measures to keep tensions from Gaza from spreading to that country, while UN peacekeepers discovered an old weapons cache as part of its intensified monitoring efforts.

“Utmost vigilance is required during this period to avoid any tension from spreading to Lebanon,” Michael Williams, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri agreed during their talks, according to a statement released by the Coordinator’s office.

In regard to yesterday’s rocket attack, Mr. Williams added, “The United Nations is encouraged by the immediate measures taken by the Lebanese Army, in very close cooperation with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, to control the situation and to prevent further incidents from taking place.”

The two officials also discussed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s forthcoming visit to the region, which also came up during Mr. Williams’ meeting with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman.

The weapons cache found today was hidden inside two disused bunkers located between the hills of Kafer Chouba and Kafer Hammam in the Eastern Sector of the area of responsibility of the UN Force, known as UNIFIL.

According to a UNIFIL press release, the cache comprises approximately 34 Grad-P rockets along with some boxes of ammunition and was covered by camouflage nets.

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There was no sign of any recent use of the bunkers and the weapons appear to date from the period of the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizbollah, UNIFIL added.

It said that UNIFIL Explosive Ordnance Teams together with the Lebanese Armed Forces are currently conducting further inspections at the location, after which the weapons will be handed over to the Lebanese Armed Forces for disposal.

In accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 fighting, UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces are charged with ensuring that the area between the Litani River and the Israeli line of withdrawal (Blue Line) is free of armed personnel, assets, and weapons other than their own.

“Recent developments have prompted us to enhance our joint presence on the ground. It was in the course of this intensified patrolling activity that the weapons cache was found,” UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Claudio Graziano said.


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