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Obama cites Lebanon arms smuggling

Dec. 14, 2009 at 5:35 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday he discussed the "extensive" arms smuggling ongoing in Lebanon with President Michel Suleiman.

Appearing with Suleiman at the White House after holding bilateral discussions, Obama told reporters he "emphasized to him our concerns about the extensive arms that are smuggled into Lebanon that potentially serve as a threat to Israel."

Obama added, "It is in the interests I think of all parties concerned to make sure that enforcement is exerted with respect to such smuggling, as well as to any other issues."

Israel has long complained that weapons, especially long-range rockets, are being smuggled to the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah in violation of United Nations Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War.

Suleiman, meanwhile, told reporters that he urged Obama to consider "threats against Lebanon that are taking place and that place obstacles to the economic growth of the country" and asked him to "exert further pressure on Israel to implement Resolution 1701 and to withdraw from Israeli-occupied Lebanese territories."

Obama conceded, "President Suleiman and I aren't going to agree on every issue with respect to how Israel, Lebanon, the Palestinians, Syria, are interacting."

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