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UN adopts resolution on W Asia

The UNSC resolution calls for end of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

india Updated: Aug 12, 2006 20:05 IST

After three weeks of contentious negotiations, the UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution seeking an end to month-long fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

The resolution creates a 24-km buffer zone and authorises 15,000 peacekeepers to help Lebanese army take control of the country's south.

But the fighting may not stop immediately as Israel Cabinet is due to meet on Saturday to consider the resolution drawn up by the US and France, and diplomats say that it is yet to be seen whether Hezbollah would play by the rules.

However, Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert told US President George Bush that he supported the resolution and Lebanese were expected to issue their acceptance within a day or so.

Olmert "spoke with President Bush and thanked him for his assistance in keeping Israeli interests in mind at the Security Council," an American official said.

Resolution 1701 does not call for immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from areas in south Lebanon that they have occupied in the recent conflict, but expects Tel Aviv to withdraw its forces as Lebanese troops, helped by UN peacekeepers with robust mandate, take control of the south from where Hezbollah has been firing rockets into Israel.

Hezbollah's key demand was that Israel withdraw its forces immediately and had threatened to continue its fight till even one Israeli soldier was on Lebanese soil.

But it could take weeks for the Lebanese to take control of the south and for the UN to strengthen its current 2000-strong mission, known as UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), and raise its strength to 15,000.