Shoukry reiterates Egypt’s objection to Rafah ground offensive in phone call with British FM

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BEIRUT: Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati has reaffirmed Lebanon’s commitment to fully implementing all international resolutions, especially UN Resolution 1701, approved in 2006 to resolve the war between Israel and Hezbollah that same year.

He also emphasized the need for Israel to implement these resolutions fully and to cease its attacks on Lebanon’s sovereignty.

Mikati made the remarks as he received visiting Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Beirut.

On Thursday, Meloni inspected the Italian contingent at the headquarters of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, in the Chamaa village, and thanked the troops for their services.

The Italian contingent is one of southern Lebanon’s biggest UNIFIL military units.

Meloni’s visit lasted 24 hours, during which tensions flared significantly in southern Lebanon due to the latest military developments.

Sirens sounded twice at the UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura while the Italian prime minister was in the south.

Chamaa Mayor Abdel Kader Safieddine said the visit was limited to “an internal military meeting with the head of the Italian unit and the major general of the Taurinense Alpine Brigade.”

He told Arab News: “No traditional reception arrangements were carried out due to the ongoing situation.”

Meloni’s talks with Mikati took place on Wednesday night.

According to a statement issued by his office, Mikati “reiterated Lebanon’s commitment to the full implementation of all international resolutions relating to the region and Lebanon, in particular UN Resolution 1701.”

Mikati recalled that Israel must also commit to the full implementation of UN resolutions and cease its land, sea, and air attacks against Lebanon’s sovereignty.

Both parties “expressed their satisfaction with UN Security Council Resolution 2728, which calls for a ceasefire in Gaza during the holy month of Ramadan, hoping it would turn into a lasting ceasefire.”

Meloni’s arrival in Beirut on Wednesday night coincided with a bloody Israeli escalation.

The White House called on Israel and Lebanon to place a high priority on restoring calm as the death toll from Wednesday’s Israeli airstrikes across southern Lebanon climbed to 16, including several militants and members of paramedic groups.

“Restoring calm along that border remains a top priority for President Biden and for the administration and it has to be of utmost importance, we believe, as well for both Lebanon and Israel,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in Washington.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ethan Goldrich arrived in Beirut and met with caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, accompanied by Ambassador Lisa Jones.

Goldrich emphasized “the need to support diplomatic initiatives to restore stability in the south and the region.”

Separately, Bou Habib assured the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka that “Lebanon will continue to push for the full implementation of Resolution 1701, as it is the optimal way to achieve the desired stability.”

The resolution calls for, among other things, a withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon and the disarmament of armed groups, including Hezbollah.

The Israeli army committed two massacres in Naqoura and Tayr Harfa, following the Al-Habbaryeh massacre committed on the morning of the same day.

Hezbollah and the Amal Movement mourned the dead in statements issued on Thursday.

Several wounded people, including a woman, were transported to hospitals in the city of Tyre for treatment, where courtyards were filled with locals and blood donors.

Hezbollah responded to the Israeli attacks on Thursday morning by targeting “the settlements of Goren and Shlomi with missile and artillery fire.”

The group said it targeted the newly established headquarters of the Liman Battalion with artillery shells. 

Meanwhile, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corp. quoted an Israeli official as saying that “the Israeli army will enter Lebanon after the completion of the Rafah operation.”

Israeli Northern Command Chief Uri Gordin announced on Wednesday that “Israeli forces are ready to act on the Lebanese border.”

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