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Annan: Israel, Lebanon Accept UN Mediation in Prisoner Dispute


United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan says Israel and Hezbollah have agreed to U.N. mediation in the prisoner dispute which sparked a month-long war.

During a stop in Saudi Arabia Monday, Mr. Annan promised to name a mediator within days.

Hezbollah kidnapped two Israel soldiers July 12. It wants to swap them for Lebanese prisoners held by Israel. Israel has demanded the unconditional release of the soldiers.

Meanwhile, Qatar has become the first Arab country to pledge troops to the U.N. peacekeeping force being deployed to southern Lebanon to monitor the ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.

Qatar is one of only a few Arab countries that recognize Israel.

Also Monday, a Qatari Airways flight landed in Beirut in what Lebanese media calls the first breach of an Israeli air and sea blockade.

The airline did not say if it asked Israel's permission to land, but Israeli officials say they cleared the flight.

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