June 12th, 2008 12:11 EST
Lebanon turns deaf ear to Israel
Lebanon has dismissed a call by Israel for the two countries to open peace talks, saying the Jewish state must first withdraw from a disputed border region.
The Lebanese government said Wednesday that its disputes with Israel are governed by U.N. Security Council resolutions that are not subject to political negotiations.
Beirut says these resolutions require Israel to withdraw from the Shebaa Farms region that it considers to be occupied Lebanese territory.
Israel captured the farms from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed them as part of the Golan Heights. The United Nations considers the Shebaa Farms to be occupied Syrian territory, but Beirut claims sovereignty over the area with the approval of Damascus.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that he hopes Lebanon will agree to negotiations after Syria began indirect talks with Israel through Turkish mediators.
Syria is demanding that Israel return entire Golan Heights in exchange for peace.
The Lebanese government also demanded Wednesday that Israel respect Lebanon`s sovereignty over its land and waters, release Lebanese prisoners, and provide maps of landmines and cluster bombs used in Lebanon during past conflicts.
Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.