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UN studying Israeli request for unedited tape filmed by UN force in Lebanon

UN studying Israeli request for unedited tape filmed by UN force in Lebanon

The United Nations is studying a request by Israel for the unedited version of a videotape sought in connection with the abduction of three Israeli soldiers last year, a spokesman for the world body said today, adding that the UN maintained its offer to show an edited version of the recording.

"We received a letter from the Israeli Minister of Defence over the weekend requesting access to an unedited version of the UN videotape," spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.

"We are studying this letter as well as the reaction of the Lebanese authorities which we also received over the weekend," he added. "Our decision was to offer an edited version of the videotape and I have no reason to think that will change."

Mr. Eckhard noted that the Israeli Defence Ministry wants "something that we are not willing to provide." He stressed that the UN's offer of an edited version of the tape remains on the table.

A top UN official said last week that the videotape filmed by UN peacekeepers had neither been shot on the day of the abduction nor at the location where the kidnapping had taken place on 7 October 2000. Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, told a news conference on Friday that the videotape had been filmed the day after the abduction on the road where the two vehicles allegedly used in the abduction were found.