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France, US Consider Changes in Middle East Resolution Before Security Council Vote


France and the United States are revising their proposal for ending the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, and diplomats say the work is likely to delay a vote by the U.N. Security Council.

An Arab League delegation argued at the United Nations Tuesday that the Security Council should call for both an immediate cease-fire and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon.

Lebanon opposes the original draft resolution, prepared by the United States and France, because it does not require a pullout of Israeli forces. Beirut is offering to deploy 15,000 troops to work with an expanded U.N. force in southern Lebanon, to patrol near the Israeli border.

In Beirut, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch met with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora Wednesday. No details about their discussions are available. Welch also is due to meet with one of Hezbollah's prominent supporters, parliament speaker Nabih Berri.

At the United Nations, Qatar's foreign minister, Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, told the Security Council Tuesday that adoption of a non-enforceable resolution would have "grave ramifications" throughout the region.

The Qatari envoy, speaking on behalf of the Arab League diplomats in New York, accused the Council of standing idle during weeks of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, says his country's forces will pull out of southern Lebanon the minute there is a political solution and a viable multinational forces in place.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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