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22 April 2002

UN News Service
Annan's envoy concerned over rising tension along
Israel-Lebanon withdrawal line

22 April Meeting today with the Lebanese Prime Minister, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process voiced concern over rising tension along the Blue Line, which marks the withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon.

In a statement issued in Beirut following his talks with Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Terje Roed-Larsen said they had discussed the "grave situation in the region" including repeated violations of the Line "emanating from Lebanese territory."

"The tension along the Blue Line is extremely worrying, particularly its potential implications for the region," the envoy said, noting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "has reached a new low point and continues to deteriorate still further."

Mr. Roed-Larsen emphasized that all efforts were being made to halt the deterioration and human suffering, and to restore the peace process. "The UN is working relentlessly with the rest of the international community towards this aim and welcomes any contributions in this direction," he said.

The initiative adopted at last month's Arab League Summit in Beirut "is a great step forward and offers a unique opportunity for peace that should be seized without delay," he said.


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