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Snags delaying Israel pullout from Lebanon-UNIFIL

Written by: Staff
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BEIRUT, Oct 26 (Reuters) The deputy commander of UN peacekeepers in Lebanon today said after meeting senior Lebanese and Israeli officers that administrative issues were delaying the completion of Israel's pullout from its neighbour.

Israel completed its withdrawal from all but one small part of southern Lebanon at the start of October. Its forces remain in the divided village of Ghajar, which straddles the border between Lebanon and territory Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 West Asia war.

''The meeting was productive and the main focus was to finalise arrangements for Ghajar after the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) withdrawal,'' Brigadier General LP Nehra said in a statement after the talks on the border.

''Minor administrative issues with relation to Ghajar residents are still pending, UNIFIL hopes they will be solved at the next meeting early next week,'' the statement said.

UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended a 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in mid-August, requires Israel to fully withdraw from Lebanon.

Some 10,000 Lebanese soldiers have deployed across south Lebanon in place of Israeli troops as they withdrew and UNIFIL, in place since 1978, has boosted its numbers from around 2,000 before the war to some 7,500 since, to help maintain the truce.

REUTERS DKB BD1927

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