Lebanon rejects peace talks with Israel

June 19th, 2008 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Beirut, June 19 (DPA) Lebanon rejected Thursday for the second time this month any peace negotiations with Israel, emphasizing that Lebanese territories occupied by the Jewish state are subject to UN resolutions that do not require any talks. A close aide of Premier Fouad Seniora told DPA that “Lebanon did not receive any message from any side through US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.”

“There is no room for bilateral negotiations between Lebanon and Israel, and Lebanon’s declared stand, reiterated last week, is a commitment to the Arab peace initiative that calls for comprehensive and just peace,” the close aide said.

“Israel is obliged to withdraw from Lebanese territories, including Shebaa Farms, in line with UN (Security Council Resolution) 425 and 1701 this is why no peace (negotiations) are required,” the source said.

On Wednesday, Israel said it was ready for direct peace talks with neighbouring Lebanon.

“Today we have concurrent peace negotiations with both the Syrians and the Palestinians, and there is no logical reason why there should not also be talks with the Lebanese,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

On Monday, Rice made a surprise visit to Beirut where she called for United Nations action on the occupied Shebaa Farms, an area Israel captured from Syria in 1967, and which Lebanon claims as its own.

A UN resolution that ended Israel’s devastating 33-day war against Lebanon in 2006 called for the UN secretary general to propose a border demarcation for the Shebaa Farms.

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