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Lebanese Troops Deploy South Across Litani River

Lebanese troops are deploying in the southern part of the country in line with a U.N. ceasefire resolution on ending the month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas.

Soldiers in trucks, armored carriers and jeeps crossed the Litani River today (Thursday) and moved south toward the Israeli border. Troops moved into Marjayoun, a mainly Christian town eight kilometers from the Israeli border that Israel vacated earlier this week.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni says the transfer depends on U.N. forces in Lebanon being reinforced and and the Lebanese army taking control of the area.

The U.N. Security Council says Lebanon will deploy 15 thousand troops in the southern part of the country, and they will work together with an international peacekeeping force of the same size.

The Lebanese Cabinet has affirmed those plans, and France has agreed to lead the new peacekeeping force.

In Beirut, Lebanese officials said their troops will not force Hezbollah fighters to disarm. However, the VOA correspondent in Beirut reports Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has pledged that no weapons in south Lebanon will be outside the Lebanese state's control.

In New York, representatives of all nations participating in the peacekeeping operation in Lebanon are to meet at the U.N. today (Thursday) to discuss logistical details of the mission