Lebanon denies Israeli handshake

Confusion surrounds a reported handshake between sworn enemies Israel and Lebanon.

    Shalom says the 'handshake' took place at an event in Tunis

    According to the office of Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom he shook the hand of Lebanese President Emile Lahoud at a recent diplomatic event in Tunis.

    Lahoud's office, however, denies the event ever took place, saying the account was "based on imagination".

    It also rejected a media report that his wife, Andree Lahoud, spoke with Shalom's wife, Judy Nir-Mozes, on the sidelines of the conference.

    According to the Israeli foreign ministry account, Shalom was standing near Lahoud as he shook the hands of dignitaries standing close by at a function the Tunisian government put on for delegates to a UN conference, foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev said.

    State of war

    "We do not relate any diplomatic importance to this," Regev said, adding that the handshake - whether or not it took place - did not herald any moves towards peace talks with Lebanon.

    Lebanon and Israel are in a state of war and the two countries have no diplomatic relations.

    Israel occupied a strip of south Lebanon for 22 years until its withdrawal in 2000.

    Beirut says Israel continues to occupy a small area of land on Mount Hermon.

    Only three Arab states - Egypt, Jordan and Mauritania - have full diplomatic relations with Israel.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Unification: Saladin and the Fall of Jerusalem

    Unification: Saladin and the Fall of Jerusalem

    We explore how Salah Ed-Din unified the Muslim states and recaptured the holy city of Jerusalem from the crusaders.