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IDF leaves lebanon 298.8.(Photo by: AP [file])
IDF remains in northern Ghajar
Yaakov Katz
Army optimistic on final pullout, implementation of UNSC 1701.
Talks over the final withdrawal of IDF troops from the northern part of the split town of Ghajar are to resume next week, with UNIFIL and IDF officials optimistic a solution will be found to complete the Israeli pullout from southern Lebanon and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. Nearly two weeks after the IDF withdrew almost all its forces from southern Lebanon, the implementation of 1701 has been held up by an Israeli refusal to withdraw troops from the northern part of Ghajar, a town split down the middle by the Blue Line, the international border between Israel and Lebanon. IDF and UNIFIL officials told The Jerusalem Post Thursday that talks over the final withdrawal would resume next Thursday, following which there is a good chance Israel will pull out of Ghajar. On October 1, the IDF withdrew its last remaining forces from Lebanon, except for a small contingent which remained in the northern part of Ghajar, which was used in the past by Hizbullah to launch attacks against Israel. UNIFIL has called for an immediate withdrawal of the troops claiming that until they are gone Israel was upholding complete implementation of 1701. "This is one of the most complicated issues of the Lebanese withdrawal," an IDF source said. "We are waiting to see that every side fulfills its obligations." Next Thursday, IDF officers, led by Brig.-Gen. Udi Dekel, head of the military's Strategic Planning Division, are scheduled to meet with UNIFIL chief Maj.-Gen. Alain Pellegrini and representatives of the Lebanese armed forces. The IDF source said that it expected Lebanese troops to deploy inside the village and to remain there alongside UNIFIL. He said the IDF was also demanding that Lebanese troops take up positions outside to prevent the infiltration of Hizbullah terrorists. "We are discussing temporary arrangements for the village, and this is something that is ongoing. We are discussing this with the Lebanese and the IDF, and we are making progress," said Milos Strugar, a senior adviser to UNIFIL on civilian affairs.
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