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U.N. Troops To Delpoy in S. Lebanon

July 30, 2000

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ The Lebanese president has given the go-ahead for more U.N. troops to deploy along the Lebanese-Israeli border, starting Sunday, the Untied Nations said.

The deployment will take place in four different locations, the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, said Saturday in a statement, following consultations between U.N. commanders and Lebanese officials.

It was not immediately clear why the peacekeepers were to take up positions at only four border points. A possible reason was Lebanon’s complaint that Israel continues to violate a U.N.-drawn border line following its May withdrawal from south Lebanon.

``The decision to give the go-ahead to UNIFIL to redeploy was given today (Saturday) by President Emile Lahoud,″ said the statement.

The announcement comes a day after 30 Ghanaian and a small number of Irish soldiers took up positions on two hills on the Lebanese-Israeli border. The U.N. plans to send a total of 5,000 peacekeepers to the border, but Beirut has held up deployment, saying it is waiting for Israel to stop border violations.

Though limited, Friday’s moves were the first sign of a long-awaited U.N. presence in the Israeli-evacuated zone that is expected to improve security in the border area. Anti-Israel guerrillas have been the real authority in the area since Israel’s May 24 withdrawal ended 18 years of Israeli occupation.

The U.N. deployment comes as Lebanon was preparing a complaint against Israel to be filed at the International Court of Justice in The Hague seeking compensation for its occupation of southern Lebanon, according to a statement Saturday. The statement did not say how much money Lebanon would seek; reports vary from $30 billion to $40 billion.

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