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Waldheim Protests to Israel over Incident in South Lebanon

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Secretary General Kurt Waldheim delivered a “strong protest” to the Israeli government today over the presence of Israeli military personnel during a demonstration yesterday by the Christian militia at the headquarters of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in Nakoura, south Lebanon.

A UN spokesman told reporters that Waldheim’s protest was conveyed to Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Yehuda Blum. He said that Blum was called to discuss the matter with Undersecretary Brian Urquart. A statement issued on behalf of Waldheim said “The Secretary General takes a very serious view” of yesterday’s incidents.

According to the statement, all four Lebanese military personnel serving as liaison with UNIFIL who were abducted, have been released. Two were released yesterday and two others were released in Metullah, Israel, early today, the statement said.

It added that “the Secretary General is making a strong protest to the Government of Israel concerning the presence of Israeli military personnel during this violent interference in the working of the UN peacekeeping operation and over the abduction of Lebanese army personnel serving in a liaison capacity with UNIFIL headquarters.” There was no immediate comment about Waldheim’s protest from the Israel Mission to the UN.

Waldheim issued another statement today declaring that he attaches “great importance to the efforts now being made in the meetings in Beirut of the ministers of foreign affairs of some Arab countries in the overall context of the Arab deterrent force. The Secretary General hopes that this meeting will find ways to assist the Lebanese government and people to find peace and national conciliation.”

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