23 November 2005

Secretary-General Deplores Exchange of Fire across "Blue Line" Separating Israel-Lebanon, Appeals for Calm

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General deplores in the strongest terms the exchange of fire across the Blue Line yesterday, which resulted in the reported deaths of several Hizbollah fighters and an unconfirmed number of wounded on both sides.

The hostilities, which were initiated from the Lebanese side, quickly spread along the entire Blue Line with Israeli civilian areas reportedly being targeted.  The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has brokered a ceasefire to prevent further escalation.

The Secretary-General appeals to all parties to respect the Blue Line in its entirety.  He also calls on the Government of Lebanon to extend its authority over all of its territory in accordance with Security Council resolutions.

The Secretary-General appeals for a return to calm and calls on all parties to exercise utmost restraint.

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