German defence minister holds talks in Beiruts

3rd November 2006, Comments 0 comments

3 November 2006, Beirut (dpa) - German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung started Friday official talks with Lebanese officials, stressing the German- led United Nations naval mission to secure the Lebanese-Israeli ceasefire. "We are here to secure the ceasefire which will also be a precondition for finding a political solution in the Middle East region," Jung told reporters after meeting his Lebanese counterpart Elias Murr. "I had a good and interesting meeting with my (Lebanese) colleague and I expressed

3 November 2006

Beirut (dpa) - German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung started Friday official talks with Lebanese officials, stressing the German- led United Nations naval mission to secure the Lebanese-Israeli ceasefire.

"We are here to secure the ceasefire which will also be a precondition for finding a political solution in the Middle East region," Jung told reporters after meeting his Lebanese counterpart Elias Murr.

"I had a good and interesting meeting with my (Lebanese) colleague and I expressed my gratitude for the good cooperation in implementing the UN resolution in our joint mission," the German minister said.

In reference to Israeli planes buzzing a German vessel last week off the coast of Lebanon, Jung said: "We have discussed the issue with the Lebanese and the Israelis and I assume that normal incidents of this kind are going to happen, but I can say that there'll be no more incidents of this kind, we are here to fulfil our UN mission."

Jung who arrived late Thursday, also met with Lebanese premier Fouad Seniora.

The Germans are currently commanding the UN naval forces who are in charge of monitoring the coast off Lebanon to prevent any arms shipments to the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah.

The German force is part of the strengthened United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) enforcing an August 14 ceasefire that ended 33 days of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

The hostilities came to an end after the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1701, which called for a ceasefire and the deployment of UN troops alongside the Lebanese army along the border with Israel.

The resolution also stipulates that a UN naval force monitor the coast of Lebanon to prevent arms shipment to the radical movement.

In a related development, a source close to the Lebanese defence minister denied German reports that the Lebanese government has asked the German naval force to monitor the coast off Lebanon solely because the Lebanese forces lack the equipment on the high seas.

"No such request was made to the Germans, our (Lebanese) naval forces are managing to monitor six miles off the coast of Lebanon and the Germans are in charge of monitoring the areas beyond the six miles," the source told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The German naval vessels can be clearly seen from various areas in the capital monitoring the coast and areas leading to Beirut port.

DPA

Subject: German news

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