Lebanese army reaches border

200 soldiers join int'l troops; UNIFIL chief: IDF to withdraw by end of month.

September 23, 2006 15:07
Lebanese army reaches border

lebanese tank 298 88. (photo credit: AP)

Lebanese army units on Saturday deployed on the border with Israel. About 200 Lebanese soldiers, accompanied by tanks and assisted by UNIFIL personnel, took up two positions near the border in the western sector, at points between the villages of Naqoura, on the coast, and Labune. The Lebanese troops joined UNIFIL forces from India and Ghana already deployed in the area. UNIFIL commander Maj.-Gen. Alain Pellegrini said Saturday that Israeli troops had left most of south Lebanon, and expected the IDF's withdrawal to be completed by the end of the month. "We are almost there, and soon the Lebanese army will take control of all border areas," Pellegrini said. Meanwhile on Saturday, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora told the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal that a breakthrough had been made in efforts to persuade Israel to agree to negotiations on the Shabaa Farms zone, which the Beirut government and Hizbullah claim as Lebanese territory. Saniora reiterated previous remarks that Lebanon would be the last Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel and the first to fight Israel, if Arab leaders decided to do so.

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