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Sunday, 30 July, 2000, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
UN spreads out on Lebanon border

United Nations peacekeeping forces have moved into four more areas in south Lebanon after getting Lebanese permission to take up position in the former Israeli-occupied zone.

Hezbollah guerrillas blocked their entry into one area, Rmaiysh in the western section, only allowing the troops to pass after high-level intervention.

clearing mines
Troops clearing mines in Yaroun on Saturday
The fighters said they had not received orders from headquarters in Beirut to let the peacekeepers through.

The Lebanese government's co-ordinator with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, General Maher Tufaili, and the deputy UNIFIL commander, James Sreenan, flew to Rmaiysh by helicopter to defuse the situation.

Co-operation pledge

In the other areas, while Hezbollah looked on, units from Nepal, India, Ireland, Sweden and Finland raised blue UN flags.


We did not get the orders from Beirut to let them through

Hezbollah guerilla
Troops declared UN control - banning people from approaching.

Fifty peacekeepers in five white armoured vehicles, accompanied by a bulldozer, moved into position on the border just across from the Israeli town of Metulla.

They blocked access to the road and declared the area under UN control, banning people from approaching.

Hezbollah guerillas took control in the former occupied zone when the Israeli soldiers left in May after 22 years.

But guerrilla leaders have pledged to co-operate with the Lebanese Government and peacekeepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

About 5,000 Unifil peacekeepers stationed in areas further north are waiting to move to the border region.

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See also:

29 Jul 00 | Middle East
UN gets Lebanese go-ahead to deploy
25 Jul 00 | Middle East
Lebanon blocks UN border deployment
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