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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
Lebanon takes border plea to UK
Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniora
Siniora is pushing for Israeli withdrawal from the Shebaa Farms
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora says he has asked Britain to help put pressure on Israel to withdraw from the disputed Shebaa Farms area.

Mr Siniora made the plea during talks in London with the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Lebanon claims the area as its territory but according to the UN, the area is part of the Syrian Golan Heights occupied by Israel since 1967.

UK officials said the leaders spoke about a number of regional issues.

Mr Siniora, who is a member of the anti-Syrian coalition in Lebanon, said he asked Mr Blair "to exert pressure on Israel so that the Israelis can withdraw from Shebaa Farms".

He said he had also asked for help in getting the UN to recognise the area as Lebanese rather than Syrian.

Mr Blair's office said only that the two men addressed several regional issues and that any peace in the Middle East must come through a negotiated solution, Reuters news agency reported.

The water-rich Shebaa Farms lie at the convergence of Israeli, Lebanese and Syrian territory.

Israeli troops have retained control of the area since they withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas conduct sporadic raids against the Israeli forces there. They and the Lebanese government say the Shebaa Farms should have been included in the withdrawal.

Israel - backed by the UN - maintains the zone was captured from Syria in 1967 and its fate should be determined via the stalled Syrian track of peace talks.


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