Olmert firm on Lebanon blockade

PM says sea and air blocade will end when UNIFIL force deploys.

olmert 88 (photo credit: )
olmert 88
(photo credit: )
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told visiting UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen on Tuesday that Israel would end its air and sea blockade of Lebanon once an enhanced UNIFIL force deploys at the Lebanese-Syrian border crossings and at the Beirut airport. Olmert stressed to Roed-Larsen the importance of putting the force together and dispatching it rapidly so that it could deploy in south Lebanon and enable Israel to withdraw its troops. According to a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office after the meeting, Olmert said that from Israel's point of view the most important part of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 was the unconditional release of IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. Israeli officials have stressed in recent days that the failure to release Goldwasser and Regev is a clear violation of the resolution. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni took a similar message with her to Europe Tuesday evening. Livni will hold talks both in Paris and Rome that will focus on the composition and rules of engagement of the beefed-up UNIFIL force.