Livni to UNIFIL commander: We want sign of life from our abducted soldiers

By EHUD ZION WALDOKS
October 21, 2007 23:17

Foreign minister also says continued weapons smuggling from Syria damages UNIFIL's ability to dismantle Hizbullah's armaments.

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Livni to UNIFIL commander: We want sign of life from our abducted soldiers

Livni gestures 298.88. (photo credit: AP)

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met with UNIFIL commander Maj.-Gen. Claudio Graziano in Tel Aviv Sunday to discuss the peacekeepers' performance and the situation in southern Lebanon. "Even though it is not part of the UNIFIL mandate, receiving a sign of life from our abducted soldiers and their subsequent release is a primary objective that must be fully implemented," Livni told Graziano. She also said "continued smuggling of weapons and ammunition from Syria damages UNIFIL's ability to dismantle Hizbullah's armaments, and will do so in the future as well if the smuggling continues." The meeting was held to discuss "all the relevant parts of UN [Security Council] Resolution 1701 that fall under UNIFIL's mandate," Milos Strugar, UNIFIL's director of political and civil affairs, told The Jerusalem Post. "Gen. Graziano was very satisfied with the discussions," he added. Livni was pleased with the meeting and with UNIFIL's performance thus far. "The population of Israel assesses UNIFIL's conduct in southern Lebanon and, at the same time, examines the actions of the international community," she said in a statement. "There is no doubt that the change in the situation in southern Lebanon and the movement of Hizbullah northward, away from the border, is a direct response to activities carried out by UNIFIL and the Lebanese army. It is imperative that these activities continue." Graziano also met with his IDF counterparts, Strugar said. Sunday's meetings were part of ongoing contacts between UNIFIL and the IDF, "with a view to advancing the implementation of 1701," he said.


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