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UN Hopes To Send 3,500 Peacekeepers to Lebanon Within Two Weeks


A senior U.N. official says the world body hopes to send up to 3,500 peacekeepers to Lebanon within two weeks.

Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Hedi Annabi told reporters Tuesday such a deployment would help strengthen the current ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah militants.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told Israeli television Tuesday that sending a full U.N. force to southern Lebanon could take weeks or months. The U.S. State Department said the timeline of months is not acceptable.

The U.N. Security Council has authorized some 15,000 peacekeepers for southern Lebanon.

An Israeli official says Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is due to meet Wednesday with Mr. Annan in New York to discuss implementation of the U.N. peace plan for Lebanon.

On Tuesday, the Israeli army withdrew more troops from Lebanon during the second full day of a ceasefire with Hezbollah guerrillas.

The Israeli army also said its troops killed a senior Hezbollah commander Sajed Dewayer, just before the ceasefire took effect Monday morning.

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