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Russia pushes for UN resolution on Lebanon

RIA Novosti

09/08/2006 10:35

NEW YORK, August 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's ambassador to the UN said early Wednesday morning his country was anxious to have a Security Council resolution on Lebanon adopted to end four weeks of fighting in the Middle East.

Vitaly Churkin made the statement at the UN Security Council after discussions between the five permanent members and representatives of the Arab League, which earlier criticized a draft resolution proposed by the United States and France for failing to include a call for an immediate ceasefire and for allegedly legitimizing the "Israeli aggression" in Lebanon.

"Russia, as well as the other Security Council members, is anxious to adopt a resolution as soon as possible," the diplomat said, though he acknowledged this would be difficult because the approval of all the parties involved was required.

The Security Council is continuing to discuss a draft resolution on Lebanon focusing on the Franco-American version.

Churkin said Lebanon's proposal to deploy 15,000 troops in southern Lebanon, the stronghold of the radical movement Hizbollah and the main target for the Israeli military operations, once a ceasefire was in place would be discussed in the Security Council.

"With account for this factor, the Security Council is continuing intensive work, which we hope will result in a coordinated draft resolution that would satisfy all, including the Lebanese government," Churkin said.

On Tuesday, the diplomat said that Russia, a veto-wielding permanent Security Council member, favored a resolution that would satisfy Lebanon as otherwise the conflict would only escalate further.

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa hailed talks at the UN as promising and said he hoped their proposals would be heeded in a new draft resolution and that at least the basic aspects of the document would be coordinated by Thursday.

Churkin's French counterpart in the UN, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, said the Security Council would try to improve the text of the resolution with account for Lebanon and the Arab League's proposals. The diplomat said he hoped a resolution would be adopted before the end of this week.

On Tuesday, a deputy foreign minister of Russia said the Security Council should adopt an interim ceasefire resolution in the event member-states fail to come to terms on the French-American draft.

"Under the circumstances, a short resolution on a humanitarian ceasefire needs to be adopted as a provisional step by the Security Council if differences over the proposed [by the U.S. and France] draft persist," Andrei Denisov said.

The conflict between Hizbollah and Israel has claimed the lives of almost 1,000 people and forced about a quarter of Lebanon's population to flee their homes.

The destruction of roads, bridges and infrastructure in southern Lebanon, as well as ongoing air strikes, have considerably complicated relief efforts.

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