BEIRUT, (AFP) — US envoy George Mitchell was in Beirut on Friday to meet with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman as part of a renewed push by Washington to broker a comprehensive Middle East peace accord.
On Friday, Mitchell travelled to south Lebanon, where he visited the headquarters of the United Nations peacekeeping force deployed there.
“The senator received briefings on UNIFIL’s mission and activities in the south, then he went back to Beirut,” said the force’s deputy spokesman Andrea Tenenti.
Asked by AFP whether Mitchell’s discussions with senior UNIFIL officials addressed the sensitive issue of Hezbollah’s weapons, Tenenti said they concerned “only the issues related to (UNIFIL’s) activities on the ground.”
Israel, which fought a devastating war with Hezbollah in 2006, has repeatedly accused the Shiite militant group of stockpiling weapons.
Syria and Lebanon are still technically at war with Israel and Washington is hoping to convince both states to enter into negotiations with the Jewish state and to support Israeli-Palestinian peace talks launched earlier this month.
On his arrival from Damascus late on Thursday, Mitchell met parliament speaker Nabih Berri and members of Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s office. He made no comment following those talks.
In Damascus, Mitchell said a peace deal meant an “agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, between Israel and Syria and between Israel and Lebanon and the full normalisation of relations between Israel and its neighbours.”