Tuesday Dec 20, 201106:36 PM GMT
Beirut pushed against Ahmadinejad visit
Mon Oct 4, 2010 4:11AM
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Israel is stepping up pressure on Lebanon in an attempt to cancel Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to the Arab country next week.

Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported that Israel is upset over reports that the Iranian chief executive will be visiting southern Lebanese villages of Bint Jbeil and Maroun al-Ras, near the Israeli border.

According to the paper, Israel has sent messages to Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and President Michel Sleiman through the US and French governments as well as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The daily quoted a high-ranking Israeli official as saying "they told the Lebanese that it wouldn't be wise to facilitate Ahmadinejad's visit to the border."

Last week, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Ban at UN headquarters that Tel Aviv was "extremely worried" about the Iranian president's visit.

An article published last week in Ha'aretz had suggested that Israel could kidnap President Ahmadinejad when he visits Lebanon.

President Ahmadinejad is planned to make his first official trip to Lebanon next week since taking office in 2005. He is expected to meet with Lebanese President Sleiman, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri as well as leaders of the Hezbollah resistance movement.

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