UN to Map Shaba Farms

The United Nations will appoint a cartographer to map the precise location and area of the Shaba Farms, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni reported to the cabinet yesterday.

The status of the territory on the slopes of Mount Hermon is disputed by Lebanon, Syria and Israel and its boundaries have never been precisely defined.

Livni said the cartographer would start working in mid-November from UN headquarters in New York, and not conduct surveying at the site itself at this stage.

The move was decided on following the periodical report of UN envoy Terje Larsen about the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559.

Israel took over the area in 1967 and sees it as part of the Golan Heights. The UN accepted this position following the IDF's pullout from Lebanon in May 2000 but Hezbollah and Lebanon claim that this is Lebanese territory still under Israeli occupation.

During the recent war in Lebanon, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said Israel should leave the Shaba Farms and place the area in UN custody until the sovereignty issue is settled.

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tried to persuade Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to agree to discuss Shaba Farms, but he refused.