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July 14, 11

NEWS / Seven Estonian cyclists abducted in Lebanon freed in good health

14 July 2011 –
Seven Estonian cyclists abducted in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in March were released today, the United Nations envoy for the country said, adding that they were in good health.

“I wanted to say firstly how pleased I am with the news of the release of the seven Estonian citizens a few hours ago,” Michael Williams, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, said in a statement after meeting with Ammar Moussawi, the head of the International Relations Department of Hizbollah in the capital, Beirut.

“We understand that they are now in Beirut and that they are in good health and I would like to take this opportunity to thank also all the agencies of the Lebanese Government and others who have worked for their release,” Mr. Williams added.

The Estonians were abducted on 23 March after entering Lebanon through Syria on their bicycles.

Mr. Williams said his discussions with Mr. Moussawi had focused on Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the month-long war between Israel and Hizbollah in 2006. It also calls for respect for the Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon, the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, and an end to arms smuggling in the area.

“I welcomed the continued commitment to the resolution from the new [Lebanese] Government and also from Hizbollah,” said Mr. Williams.

His discussions with Mr. Moussawi also touched on the question of Lebanon’s so-called National Dialogue.

“My view and the view of the United Nations is that this is still an institution which is very important for Lebanon and we hope, with the President’s blessing and chairmanship, it can continue in the future even to discuss critical issues such as national defence,” he added.




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