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Top-level meeting moves Israeli withdrawal forward

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Top-level meeting moves Israeli withdrawal forward


Representatives of the Lebanese Army and the Israeli Defence Force have held a meeting with the commander of the UNIFIL peacekeeping force to discuss the process of withdrawal for the Israeli military. Major-General Alain Pellegrini said the meeting at the border crossing of Ras Naqoura had brought a full Israeli troop withdrawal closer. Lebanese forces entered the war-devastated town of Bint Jbeil yesterday after Israeli troops withdrew. The operation was co-ordinated by french peacekeeping troops, who had just arrived in the country. Areas surrounding a further seven towns near the Israeli border have been also vacated.

The UN says Israel must complete its pullout once five thousand UNIFIL troops are in place. Military sources estimate that with 3, 100 soldiers still in the region, it could take two weeks to achieve that total.

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