Annan and Netanyahu discuss Lebanon withdrawal
Lebanon-Israel-UN, Politics, 5/16/1998
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu restated Israel's readiness to withdraw from southern Lebanon during a meeting on Friday in New York with United
Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Netanyahu said that Israel, which has tabled a proposal already refused by Lebanon for conditional withdrawal, would abide by 425 "under the stipulations that are contained in the resolution," a U.N. report said.
But Netanyahu added "Of course, if the UN wishes to take up this decision, then by all means, Israel would respond positively," a reference to Israel's desire to see the resolution modified before it would "respond positively."
A Lebanese official government source told ArabicNews.com today that Israel wants to deflect international public attention and opinion from the current stalemate in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. The source commented that Israel wants to bring back the issue of Lebanon to the forefront to focus attention on the mediation of the U.N.'s secretary-general concerning the Israeli offer on Lebanon to implement Security Council resolution 425 at a time in which the U.S. is insisting on progress on the Israeli-Palestinian side, an effort that is being rejected by Netanyahu.
The source also added that the Israeli military escalation in this regard and the two Israeli air raids on the Bekaa this week in which many were killed and injured are a multiple-goal message, directed to the Palestinians, the Lebanese and the Syrians.
Lebanon has continuously rejected any conditions put on Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, and insists on Israel abiding by UN resolution 425 that call for unconditional withdrawal from Lebanese territories.
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