Lebanon: UN envoy meets officials to discuss tense situation on withdrawal line

3 April 2002

The senior United Nations envoy in southern Lebanon today met with the country's officials to convey Secretary-General Kofi Annan's concern about the volatile situation along the Blue Line, which marks the withdrawal of Israeli forces.

According to a UN spokesman, Mr. Annan himself also spoke by phone today with the Presidents of both Lebanon and Syria.

The Secretary-General's Personal Representative for southern Lebanon, Staffan de Mistura, discussed the situation with Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud, the spokesman said. The envoy's programme also included a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

Meanwhile, General Lalit Tewari, the Commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), briefed Lebanese President Emile Lahoud on the situation in the south. "They discussed what can be done to keep calm and stability along the Blue Line," spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York.

For his part, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East, Terje Roed-Larsen has been "in constant contact" with Israeli, Palestinian and regional counterparts as well as members of the Quartet - the UN, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States. Their aim was "to ease the most serious points of tensions on three issues: the military situation in West Bank and Gaza, the humanitarian situation in those areas, and ongoing tensions along the Blue Line," Mr. Eckhard noted.


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