Probe completed into handling of videotape by UN force in Lebanon

Probe completed into handling of videotape by UN force in Lebanon

A senior United Nations official has completed his investigation into the handling of a controversial videotape that may relate to last year's kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers by Hizbollah, a UN spokesman announced today.

Spokesman Fred Eckhard said that the Under-Secretary-General for Management, Joseph Connor, would present the report to Secretary-General Kofi Annan late this afternoon.

"We'll announce next steps as soon as the Secretary-General has had time to consider the report," said Mr. Eckhard, adding, "I assume that announcement will come tomorrow."

In a recent report on the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Mr. Annan noted that a "controversy arose between the Israeli authorities and the United Nations over a UNIFIL videotape, filmed on 8 October 2000, of vehicles that may have been used by Hizbollah in the abduction of three Israeli Defence Force soldiers on 7 October 2000 across the Blue Line." The report points out that Israel and Lebanon had been offered the opportunity to view the tape, with the identities of non-UN personnel obscured.