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Deiss urges Israel to pull out of Lebanon

The Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, is in Lebanon on the last leg of his tour of the Middle East. Speaking after a meeting with the interior minister, Michel Murr (picture), Deiss underlined Lebanon's right to territorial sovereignty.

This content was published on March 2, 2000 - 22:26

The Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, is in Lebanon on the last leg of his nine-day tour of the Middle East. Speaking in Beirut, Deiss underlined Lebanon's right to territorial and political sovereignty.

His comments came after a meeting with the interior minister, Michel Murr. Deiss said that Berne supported the United Nations resolution calling for Israel's withdrawal from its self-declared security zone in southern Lebanon.

He also called on Syria to pull its troops out of the country.

Deiss deplored the escalation in violence of the last few weeks between Hezbollah guerrillas and Israeli-backed militia forces. He urged both sides to halt the fighting to prevent further civilian casualties.

Deiss is scheduled to meet the Lebanese president, Emile Lahoud, on Friday. Talks are expected to focus on the situation in southern Lebanon and the Middle East peace process, as well as economic issues.

Deiss will sign a bilateral agreement on the protection and promotion of investments.

Meanwhile, Israel's ambassador to Berne, Yitzhak Mayer, has called on Deiss to clarify comments he made in Syria demanding an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights. Mayer said the Israeli foreign minister, David Levy, would ask for an explanation when he visits Switzerland on March 13.

Deiss told reporters in Damascus that Israel's colonisation of the Golan Heights, which it captured in 1967, was in contravention of the fourth Geneva Convention.

From staff and wire reports



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