US backs Lebanon UN mission after incidents

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The United States expressed support Wednesday for the UN mission in Lebanon following incidents in which French peacekeepers were attacked by villagers.

"We continue to call on all parties in and around Lebanon to adhere to their obligations under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, and we continue to fully support the efforts of UNIFIL and the Lebanese government to implement those provisions," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

Resolution 1701, which ended the Hezbollah-Israel war in 2006, expanded the mandate of the mission known as UNIFIL, which was originally formed in 1978 after the outbreak of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.

The US comments came days after villagers disarmed a French patrol of UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon and attacked them with sticks, rocks and eggs, in the latest in a string of such incidents.

Toner said UN Security Council members "are involved in initial discussions regarding a possible statement" on the incidents and UNIFIL's freedom of movement in southern Lebanon.

France had called earlier for a specific meeting on the matter at the UN to reaffirm the freedom on movement of the peacekeepers.

© 2010 AFP

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