The Israeli Army will begin its withdrawal from southern Lebanon on Wednesday and will transfer control of the area to UNIFIL forces. A day or two later, Lebanese army forces will enter the area and take control.
Representatives from the Israel Defense Forces, UNIFIL, and the Lebanese army met in the UN station in Nakura to discuss the process of transferring control of the area from the IDF to UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army. The meeting was very good, and the representatives from UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army said they intend on moving south as soon as possible. They said that they were given orders to dismantle Hizballah from its weapons.
Diplomatic officials say that the transfer will take place on Wednesday in several sectors. The last sector will be the closest to the border with Israel. The first stage will take place in the eastern sector, and will move to the central and western sectors as well.
From reports arriving in Jerusalem, the international forces which will augment UNIFIL are due to arrive within a week. There are many countries willing to participate in the force. There is a willingness from the international community and the United Nations to cooperate. Political officials say there is an understanding that there is a race against time and the sooner the forces arrive and the IDF withdraw, the less likely Hizballah will take control again.
Among the states willing to send forces are Italy, France, Spain, and Turkey. The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Italy promised to send a serious force armed with tanks. The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem is optimistic that the force will be built quickly. The PM’s office, however, is more cautious, but say that the world has an interest in a quick intervention.
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