18 November 2006, UN News Center - In a bid to promote stability in Lebanon, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged the leaders of Iran and Syria to advocate dialogue as a means to resolve differences in the country.
"The Secretary-General spoke with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Basher Al-Assad of Syria about developments in Lebanon and the need for countries in the region in particular and the international community as a whole to promote the stability and the unity of Lebanon," a UN spokesman said.
"He urged them to counsel the parties concerned to exercise patience and resolve their differences through dialogue," the spokesman added in a statement issued in St. Gallen, Switzerland, where Mr. Annan is traveling on official business.
Eleven of the incidents occurred in the area of operations of the French battalion. A UN spokesman reported that the anti-aircraft unit of the French battalion took initial preparatory steps to respond to the Israeli actions, in accordance with UNIFIL rules of engagement and UN Security Council resolution 1701. That text ended the 34-day war between Israel and Hizbollah and expanded the size and scope of the Force.
Maj. Gen. Alain Pellegrini, the UNIFIL Force Commander, strongly protested to the Israeli authorities and asked them to cease these actions, which are unacceptable and in violation of resolution 1701, spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.
Asked about France's response to the overflights, he said that thankfully, nothing happened and no one was hurt. However, he added, the incident served as a reminder, at a tense moment in Lebanon, of why such overflights must cease: because of the chance that events could spin out of control.
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