Lebanon responds to Olmert's peace call

Daily News Egypt
2 Min Read

BEIRUT: The Lebanese Premier’s Office responded to Israel’s call for direct talks, saying that the bilateral issues between the two countries had been addressed by United Nations Security Council resolutions 425 and 1701, and were therefore non-negotiable.

Last Tuesday Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that following the opening of talks with Syria, he would be “very happy if the government of Lebanon also announced direct and bilateral negotiations with Israel.

In response, the Lebanese Premier’s Office announced Lebanon was “committed to the Arab peace initiative, which called for a just and comprehensive peace and for moving ahead in the peace process in all tracks.

However, the Premier’s Office stressed that with regard to the bilateral issues between the two neighboring nations, these were all subject to the UNSC resolutions, which Israel was obligated to implement, and were not up for negotiation. Lebanon particularly emphasized Israel’s obligation to withdraw its forces from the disputed Shib’a farms.

The announcement further stressed it expected Israel to respect Lebanon’s territorial sovereignty, to free its prisoners, and to deliver the mine maps of southern Lebanon, all in accordance to the UNSC resolutions.

With regard to the other subjects related to a comprehensive peace – including the rights of Palestinian refugees – these were a Pan-Arab matter to be discussed under the umbrella of the Arab initiative, it said.

The Arab peace initiative was first proposed in 2002 by Saudi Arabia at the Beirut summit of the Arab League. It suggested a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole. The initiative was again endorsed at the Riyadh summit of the Arab League last year.

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