Mr. Ban “believes the developments are a positive step towards addressing the humanitarian issues that are an important component of Security Council resolution 1701,” a statement issued yesterday by his spokesperson said, referring to the resolution that ended Israel’s war against Hizbollah in August 2006. The resolution also called for renewed respect for the Blue Line separating Israeli and Lebanese forces, the disarming of militias and an end to arms smuggling, and enhanced the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the peacekeeping mission that has been there since 1978. 2 June 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the return by Israel of a released prisoner to Lebanon and Hizbollah’s release of remains of Israeli soldiers killed during the 2006 war.

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