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UN Chief Urges Quick Action in Clearing Cluster Bombs in Lebanon


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has criticized Israel for using cluster bombs in Lebanon during its recent war with Hezbollah.

In Jordan Thursday, Mr. Annan said cluster bombs should not be used in areas populated by civilians. He called for quick action in clearing and disarming the devices.

Mr. Annan has been calling on Israel to lift its air and sea blockade of Lebanon and to withdraw its troops from southern Lebanon once the U.N. deploys 5,000 troops there.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said the U.N. ceasefire resolution must be fully implemented before Israel will lift the blockade.

Earlier Thursday, Israel announced the transfer of control of an area in Lebanon near the Israeli border to international and Lebanese troops.

An Israeli spokesman says Israel now controls less than one-third of the territory it occupied in Lebanon during the conflict.

After his talks in Jordan, Mr. Annan flew to Syria to meet with officials there.

Israel says full implementation of the ceasefire resolution includes the release of two Israeli soldiers abducted by Hezbollah July 12.

Wednesday, the top U.N. humanitarian aid official, Jan Egeland, condemned Israel's use of cluster bombs.

A spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency has told VOA that the devices are of particular danger to children, who may mistake the small objects for toys.

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

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