The Lebanese Defence Minister, Mr. Nasir Maalouf, has asserted his Government's actions in the treatment?
GV Ministry of Defence building in Beirut
SV Portrait of Presidrnt
SV Maalouf speaks in Arabic
Initials AE/2.17 AE/2.23
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Background: The Lebanese Defence Minister, Mr. Nasir Maalouf, has asserted his Government's actions in the treatment of two captured Israeli pilots.
The pilots were made prisoner last year by the Lebanese Army. They were taken into custody on October the 11th after their plane - an American-made Phantom - crashed during a mission on Mount Hermon, where Syrian and Israeli forces were fighting.
Both Israel - through the Red Cross - and Syria asked Lebanon to hand the pilots over. Lebanon's decisionn not to comply angered Syria, who denounced the Government's action.
Mr. Nasri Maalouf - at a press conference in Beirut on Thursday (11th April) - stressed that Lebanon would not return the pilots to Israel. He quoted the 1948 Armistice and the Geneva Convention, in saying that the prisoners were to be kept until the "end of hostilities". Mr. Maalouf pointed out that the October War in the Middle East had not ceased, because Syria and Israel were still engaged in clashes along the Golan Heights.