Lebanon vows to have no peace with Israel on its terms

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora made clear on Wednesday that there would be no direct contact between his country and Israel and that Lebanon would be the last Arab country to ever sign a peace deal with the Jewish state, AP reports.

"Lebanon will be the last Arab country that could sign a peace agreement with Israel," he said at a news conference in Beirut. "Let it be clear, we are not seeking any agreement until there is just and comprehensive peace based on the Arab initiative."

He was referring to a plan that came out of a 2002 Arab League summit in Beirut. It calls for Israel to return all territories it conquered in the 1967 Mideast war, for the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and for a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem - all in exchange for peace and full normalization of Arab relations with Israel.

Israel has long sought a peace deal with Lebanon, but Beirut has hesitated as long as Israel's conflicts with the Palestinians and Syria remained unresolved.

Saniora said Lebanon wants to go back to the 1949 armistice agreement that formally ended the Arab-Israeli war over Israel's creation.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said earlier Wednesday that the Israel-Hezbollah cease-fire could be "a cornerstone to build a new reality between Israel and Lebanon."

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan also said they hoped the cease-fire deal could evolve into a full-fledged peace agreement between Israel and Lebanon.

Implementation of the cease-fire "gives us a foundation to move forward and settle the differences between Israel and Lebanon once and for all, to establish a durable peace," Annan said.

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