UN: Calm returned to southern Lebanon

Lebanese soldiers deployed in the area brings quiet.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 15, 2010 14:54
1 minute read.
A damaged armored vehicle of the French UN peacekeepers, is seen with blood, in Touline village, sou

unifil lebanon 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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The UN's special coordinator for Lebanon said Wednesday that calm and stability have returned to southern Lebanon following several violent incidents targeting UN peacekeepers that heightened tensions along the border with Israel.

Michael Williams welcomed the Lebanese government's decision last week to deploy more soldiers in the area along the Israeli border and he urged both Israel and Lebanon to meet all requirements in the UN resolution that ended the Israeli-Hezbollah war in the summer of 2006.

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On June 29 and July 3-4, angry villagers blocked roads and threw stones to prevent peacekeepers from performing a military drill.

Williams said that to live up to the UN resolution, Israel must halt air sorties over Lebanon and resolve disputes over the village of Ghajar and the Shaba Farms area on Lebanon's border with Syria's Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Lebanon, he said, must disarm Hizbullah and Palestinian militias and marking Lebanon's border with Syria, "where progress is being made" but some Security Council members don't think it's quick enough.

The UN force was deployed along the border after the 2006 Israeli-Hizbullah war to help Lebanese troops extend their authority into the south for the first time in decades and create a buffer zone free of Hizbullah fighters.

Williams demanded that the 15,000-member UN force be allowed freedom of movement

He told reporters after briefing the Security Council that deployment of the force and other measures in the 2006 UN resolution "have allowed the longest period of stability between the parties since the 1970s."

"No one on either side of the Blue Line has been killed by hostile military action from the other side in the past four years," he said, referring to the UN-drawn unofficial boundary between Israel and Lebanon.

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