Miqati, EU Mission Deny Withdrawal of UNIFIL Troops

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati and the European Union mission in Lebanon denied reports that the EU could withdraw its troops affiliated in United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

“EU Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst didn't relay a warning backed by U.S. that it would withdraw its troops over Lebanon's slackness in preventing abduction of UNIFIL members,” according to a statement issued by the EU mission in Lebanon and received by the Naharnet.

The statement pointed out that “none of the allegations were part of the discussion which took place with Miqati last Wednesday,” saying that “any quote attributed to Eichhorst in this regard is erroneous.”

The EU ambassador held a meeting with Miqati at the Grand Serail on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, sources close to Miqati denied in comment published in al-Akhbar newspaper on Monday that his meeting with Eichhorst tackled the matter.

“No change has occurred to the UNIFIL deployment in South Lebanon,” the sources added.

The daily also quoted UNIFIL deputy head of mission Milos Strugar as denying the report.

On Sunday, Israeli newspaper Maariv and the Kuwaiti al-Seyassah newspaper reported that the EU warned Miqati that it would withdraw its peacekeeping troops deployed along the border with Israel “if their security cannot be guaranteed.”

The reports said that the decision came in the wake of the abduction of Philippine peacekeepers of the Syrian Golan Heights earlier this month and that the U.S. backs the EU decision.

According to the newspapers Eichhorst handed a letter to the Miqati expressing concern over the increasing activities of Hizbullah in southern Lebanon.

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