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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 August 2006, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Mid-East ceasefire: Next steps
Israeli troops await the order to advance near the Israel-Lebanon border on 12 August
Israeli troops are continuing their operations
The UN Security Council has voted for a ceasefire plan to end the month-long conflict between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

Both the Lebanese and Israeli governments are expected to ratify the resolution which urges a "full cessation of hostilities".

But fighting on the ground is continuing, with Israeli troops ordered to push further into Lebanon.

So what are the likely next steps and the obstacles remaining to obtaining an end to the conflict?

Resolution 1701 was adopted unanimously by the Security Council after more than a week of intense discussions.

The resolution calls for a "full cessation of hostilities" and authorises 15,000 peacekeeping troops for the existing UN Interim Force in Lebanon, Unifil.

Unifil will also receive a more robust mandate to monitor and enforce the ceasefire.

RESOLUTION: KEY POINTS
Hezbollah must end attacks on Israel
Israel must end offensive military operations
15,000 peacekeepers to enforce ceasefire
Lebanese troops to be deployed to south
Israel to withdraw troops as international force deployed

The resolution says Hezbollah must halt all attacks and Israel must stop "all offensive military operations" in Lebanese territory. This demand had been a major sticking point, as Lebanon saw this as a loophole for Israel. However it remains in the resolution.

The BBC's diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall says it soon became clear that the resolution satisfied neither side absolutely.

The Lebanese cabinet is due to meet later on Saturday to discuss the resolution. An adviser to the Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, told the BBC he expected cabinet members, including those from Hezbollah, to support it.

The BBC's Nick Childs in Beirut says war weariness is clearly putting a lot of pressure on all groups in the government, but concerns remain about the vagueness of some of the language in the text.

One issue will be just how robust the proposed international force is prepared to be in fulfilling its mandate, he says. Questions also hang over Hezbollah's position - even if they back the broad outline, what will that mean in terms of their willingness to withdraw from the south, let alone in the longer term to disarm?

Advance

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has asked the Israeli cabinet to endorse the resolution when it meets on Sunday - a request it is expected to follow.

Mr Olmert described the document as positive and acceptable but the military campaign is, for now, being stepped up.

UN troops at the Rosh Hanikra border crossing point
UN troops will bear the brunt of peacekeeping in south Lebanon

An army spokeswoman said troops were moving in the direction of the strategically important the Litani River, up to 30km (18 miles) from the Israeli border.

Bethany Bell, reporting for the BBC from Jerusalem, says there are indications that this could be sabre-rattling before Sunday's meeting.

Israeli officials said the military priority was to target Hezbollah as much as possible to make it easier for the international force to operate once it is deployed in southern Lebanon.

The officials said the resolution was not perfect but they could live with it as long as Hezbollah could no longer fire rockets into Israel and the two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah are released.

The BBC's Adam Mynott, who is in northern Israel, says soldiers he has spoken to say they have been ordered to continue attacking Hezbollah positions in Lebanon.

The UN Middle East envoy, Alvaro de Soto, has said he expects fighting in Lebanon to wind down over the next two days and that an international force would begin deploying in about 10 days.




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See the unanimous vote at the United Nations



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