France Circulates Revised Resolution on Mideast

The Associated Press
Thursday, August 3, 2006; 11:00 AM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- France circulated a revised U.N. resolution Thursday calling for an immediate halt to Israeli-Hezbollah fighting and spelling out conditions for a permanent cease-fire.

The new draft reiterates France and other nations' call "for an immediate cessation of hostilities," and emphasizes "a lasting solution to the current crisis between Israel and Lebanon."

The conditions include: release of the two Israeli soldiers whose abduction sparked the current fighting; "settlement of the issue of the Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel;" and marking the international borders of Lebanon, including in the disputed area known as Chebaa Farms.

The resolution requires the disarmament of all militias in Lebanon and the extension of the Lebanese government's authority throughout southern Lebanon, which is now controlled by Hezbollah.

It includes establishment of a buffer zone where only Lebanese security forces and U.N.-mandated international forces would be allowed.

The conditions are spelled out in greater detail than the original French draft circulated on Saturday.

"I think we are making progress, I would say real progress," France's U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere told reporters, though he cautioned that a resolution might not be quickly adopted.

© 2006 The Associated Press