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Thursday, 6 April, 2000, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Lebanon's terms for Israeli pull-out
Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp
Palestinian refugees: Beirut wants them disarmed
Lebanon has outlined its conditions to the United Nations for co-operating with an Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

The conditions include the participation of UN forces in disarming Palestinian guerrillas, who may try to launch attacks on Israel from southern Lebanon, and guarantees that Israel will respect Lebanese territorial sovereignty.

Correspondents say the demands could hamper efforts for a peaceful withdrawal by the summer, as Israel is unlikely to accept them.

If the fighting continues under the new conditions we will also need to determine new rules of the game

Ephraim Sneh, Israel's deputy defence minister
Beirut said it would not coordinate a withdrawal with the UN before its concerns are addressed.

Israel has condemned the conditions as an attempt by Syria, the main powerbroker in Lebanon, to sabotage its pull-out, which it has pledged will go ahead by July with or without a peace agreement.

Beirut's conditions were outlined in a letter released by the Lebanese Government after President Emile Lahoud met with UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed Larsen on Wednesday.

Reports from Beirut say Mr Lahoud included the Palestinian issue in the demands to deny Israel any pretext for mounting attacks on Lebanon after a withdrawal.

Israeli warnings

The Lebanese Government has not said whether it will deploy army troops in the south to ensure stability and has refused to give Israel any post-withdrawal security guarantees.

On Thursday, Israeli generals and Prime Minister Ehud Barak's Deputy Defence Minister Ephraim Sneh warned that violence is almost sure to follow a unilateral troop withdrawal from Lebanon, unless an agreement could be reached on the deployment of troops to fill the vacuum.

Is it logical that Lebanon is also asked to pay the price of protecting this withdrawal and protecting Israel's border?

Lebanese Government statement
"There are only two situations - an agreement or fighting. There is no third way out," Mr Sneh said.

"The Syrians are the ones who run Lebanon. If the Syrians accept it [an Israeli withdrawal], there is a chance for a stable situation in south Lebanon," Mr Sneh added.

Referring to Lebanon's new demands, the deputy defence minister indicated that Israel will retaliate harshly for any attacks after a withdrawal from Lebanon.

Israel is anxious that the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, might target northern Israel after a pull-out.

It has accused Syria of using Lebanese guerrilla attacks on Israeli troops in southern Lebanon to put pressure on Israel to make a deal with Damascus.

Talks between Syria and Israel broke down in January over the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

In a meeting in Geneva on Tuesday, Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy assured UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that Israel will cooperate with UN peacekeeping forces stationed in south Lebanon during the withdrawal.

Mr Larsen will travel to Damascus to continue briefing the Lebanese and Syrian Governments on the withdrawal plans.

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See also:

01 Apr 00 | Middle East
Syria dismisses Lebanon troop idea
05 Mar 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Leaving Lebanon
06 Apr 00 | Middle East
Lebanon on UN agenda
03 Apr 00 | Middle East
Israel's allies to stay in Lebanon
05 Jan 00 | Middle East
The Golan: Territory and security
05 Apr 00 | Middle East
Israel releases Lebanese prisoner
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