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Annan Says Israel, Lebanon Agree to Ceasefire Beginning Monday


U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says the prime ministers of Israel and Lebanon have agreed to a ceasefire beginning early Monday, at 0500 UTC.

Mr. Annan's statement Saturday follows approval by the Lebanese Cabinet of Friday's U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at ending the month-long fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Siniora told reporters late Saturday his Cabinet approved the resolution by a unanimous vote. Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is expected to urge his Cabinet to approve the measure when it meets Sunday.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah confirmed his forces will abide by the U.N. ceasefire, but says Hezbollah will continue fighting as long as Israeli troops are in Lebanon.

U.N. officials say an international force could begin deploying in southern Lebanon within a week.

President Bush telephoned Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora Saturday. U.S. National Security spokesman Frederick Jones says Mr. Bush stressed the need to dismantle Hezbollah's "state within a state."

Western nations have hailed the resolution adopted Friday.

France says it will send troops to a strengthened U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon.

Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, has said the resolution should be reconsidered because it benefits what he called the Zionist regime.

The resolution calls for a full cessation of hostilities before authorizing an increase in the current U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon to 15,000 troops. The U.N. force will help the Lebanese Army deploy another 15,000 troops near the border with Israel, potentially removing the Hezbollah threat.

Some information for this story provided by AP and Reuters.

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