Olmert Caves: Israel to lift blockade off Lebanon

Thursday, September 07, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
After eight weeks, Israel will today lift the air and sea blockade it has imposed on Lebanon since the beginning of the war against Hizballah. The agreement was reached after assurances that the multinational force is ready to take its position and prevent weapons from reaching Hizballah.
The decision came after intense international pressure and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan assured that the force was ready to deploy to its positions in the Lebanese air and sea ports. Israeli forces will vacate their positions and the international force will replace them.
Yesterday, German experts arrived at Beirut Airport with equipment to oversee and inspect shipments arriving in Lebanon by air in order to enforce the arms embargo on Hizballah. German Naval forces will also be deployed off Lebanese shores to enforce the embargo from the sea.
Israel had refused to lift the blockade on Lebanon until the international force was in place. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said a few days ago that the blockade would not be lifted before the kidnapped soldiers were freed. The families of the soldiers requested an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in order to dissuade him from his decision which they believe damages efforts to return their sons.

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