Italy's FM warns Syria not to ship arms to Hizbullah

August 31, 2006 00:00


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Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said in an interview Wednesday that the international community will not tolerate Syrian arms shipments to Hizbullah or other violations of the UN resolution that ended a month of fighting between Israel and the Shi'ite organization. "The Syrians must know that if weapons come from Syria or acts in violation of UN Resolution 1701 are committed, the international community will not stand by and watch," D'Alema told RAI state radio. The UN has said that so far there are no plans to deploy its strengthened peacekeeping force along Lebanon's border with Syria, something that President Bashar Assad has said he would consider a hostile act. The warning from D'Alema came a day after an Italian task force set sail for southern Lebanon carrying more than 800 soldiers bound for peacekeeping duties. Italy has pledged to put some 2,500 troops on the ground by the end of the year as part of efforts to strengthen the UNIFIL force there. Israel has so far refused to lift its sea and air blockade of Lebanon, saying it would only only do so once it is assured that forces deployed in southern Lebanon could stop new weapons shipments to Hizbullah.

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