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World powers strike West Asia deal

UN Security Council members have agreed on a resolution to end Israel's month-old war with Hizbollah militia.

india Updated: Aug 12, 2006 04:01 IST

Key UN Security Council members have agreed on a resolution to end Israel's month-old war with Hizbollah and a vote was possible later on Friday, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said.

An Israeli political source said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was reviewing the draft resolution. Israel's Channel 10 television said the text had been "positively received".

Earlier in the day, Israel ordered an expansion of its ground offensive and said it would press ahead with the campaign if it was unhappy with any deal. Israeli tank forces were preparing for orders to sweep into Lebanon after the wider offensive was approved, Israeli television reported.

"We have an agreed text," Beckett told reporters, adding she hoped that Israel and Lebanon would abide by it. She said the full Security Council would receive the draft at 1900 GMT.

The deal calls for an immediate "cessation of hostilities" followed by a phased withdrawal of Israeli units as the Lebanese army and an expanded UN force move into southern Lebanon.

Up to 15,000 French and other troops are expected to strengthen the UN peacekeeping force. As part of the deal, Hizbollah would pull out from south of the Litani River, 20 km (13 miles) from the Israeli border.

The timing of Israel's withdrawal and the nature of the international force sent into the area had been the main points of contention that held up a deal this week.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew to New York in anticipation of a vote on ending the war, in which at least 1,030 people in Lebanon and 123 Israelis have been killed.