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Lebanese Proposal to Deploy 15,000 Troops in South is 'Interesting'

Israel's prime minister says a Lebanese government proposal to deploy 15-thousand troops in southern Lebanon is an interesting step worth studying.

But, Ehud Olmert says there will be no ceasefire in Israel's offensive against Hezbollah until the group releases two Israeli soldiers who were kidnapped July 12th.

In New York, Arab League representatives are due at the United Nations Security Council today to support Lebanon's demands for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of all Israeli troops in southern Lebanon.

Lebanon rejected a U.S.-French draft resolution because it did not call for a pullout of Israeli forces from Lebanese territory.

Russia's U.N. ambassador (Vitaly Churkin) said today the Council should not adopt a resolution that is unacceptable to Beirut, because this will lead to further conflict.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he hopes the Security Council will adopt a resolution today.

Mr. Blair says he is confident the United Nations can help Lebanon take charge of its own territory without leaving a vacuum in the south that Hezbollah can fill.

Earlier, Germany's foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said the proposed resolution will succeed only if Israel and Lebanon both agree on the installation of an international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy says the United States should consider the Arab League amendments.