Germany denies reports of Israeli-Hezbollah deal

28th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

28 August 2006, BERLIN - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Monday his country was not playing any role in attempts to broker an exchange of prisoners between Israel and the militant Lebanese group Hezbollah. Steinmeier denied media reports that Germany was mediating to win the release of the two Israeli soldiers held by Hezbollah whose kidnapping last month triggered Israel's military strikes on Lebanon. "We are not in this situation," Steinmeier said at a news briefing with Israeli Fore

28 August 2006

BERLIN - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Monday his country was not playing any role in attempts to broker an exchange of prisoners between Israel and the militant Lebanese group Hezbollah.

Steinmeier denied media reports that Germany was mediating to win the release of the two Israeli soldiers held by Hezbollah whose kidnapping last month triggered Israel's military strikes on Lebanon.

"We are not in this situation," Steinmeier said at a news briefing with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Germany has in the past organized prisoner exchanges between Israel and Middle East extremist groups.

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah was quoted at the weekend as saying Italy and the United Nations had made contacts aimed at a prisoner swap with Israel.

Steinmeier declined to say how many troops Germany would contribute to the beefed-up UN peacekeeping force planned for southern Lebanon. Berlin says it will not send any ground troops and instead plans to supply naval vessels and logistics.

Livni said the biggest problems remained disarming Hezbollah and deploying the Lebanese Army in southern Lebanon.

"As long as these problems have not been dealt with, then the whole thing has little meaning," Livni said in reference to terms of UN Security Council resolution 1701 which ended the war between Israel and Hezbollah on August 14.

Livni said Israel expected the Lebanese Army to impose a strict arms embargo on Hezbollah as seen under resolution 1701.

DPA

Subject: German news

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