BEIRUT — Lebanon agreed to allow U.N. peacekeepers to deploy along its border with Israel this week, the United Nations said Monday, after the last of Israeli encroachments across the frontier ended.
Two months after Israel ended its 22-year occupation of southern Lebanon, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan informed the Security Council late Monday that the long-sought U.N. peacekeeper deployment would take place Wednesday.
He said the deployment by the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, would be "immediately followed" by that of Lebanese government units.
In his letter, Annan said all Israeli violations of the frontier had been removed and that Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and Prime Minister Salim Hoss had agreed Monday to full U.N. deployment to the border.
Beirut had refused to allow the U.N. deployment or to move its own forces into the border region, because Israeli army posts, patrols and a border fence still encroached in places across the border drawn by the United Nations at the time of Israel's withdrawal.
Ahead of Annan's announcement, Lebanese and U.N. officers flew by helicopter along the border in a final check to verify that the Israeli violations had ended. The two sides have worked for weeks surveying on the border to resolve claims of violations.
The final Israeli border violation was rectified as Terje Roed-Larsen, Annan's special Middle East envoy, entered a meeting with Lahoud.
Lebanese and U.N. officials were to meet later to work out details of the UNIFIL deployment.
About 5,000 peacekeepers from 11 countries are already deployed along the border in southern Lebanon.
U.N. peacekeepers have been there since March 1978, when Israel first invaded Lebanon, and more were expected to arrive. Israel held the southern border zone, it said, to prevent cross-border attacks by anti-Israeli guerrillas.