Blair, Annan: Deploy international force

British PM: Deployment of force needed that can stop bombardment of Israel.

July 17, 2006 10:18
2 minute read.
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British Prime Minister Tony Blair and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called Monday for the deployment of international forces to stop the bombardment of Israel from southern Lebanon. "The only way we're going to get a cessation of hostilities is if we have the deployment of an international force into that area that can stop the bombardment coming over into Israel and therefore gives Israel a reason to stop its attacks on Hizbullah," Blair said after meeting with Annan. "The only way, then, that this is going to work ... is if we actually give people a reason for ceasing hostilities." Mark Regev, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Israel "would welcome a more energetic and decisive international effort to bring about immediate and full implementation of Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1680, which call for the disarmament of Hizbullah." Annan appealed to Israel to abide by international law and spare civilian lives and infrastructure. "We should not inflict any more suffering on both parties and they should respect international humanitarian law," Annan said. He also said the United Nations was considering evacuation plans for UN dependents from Lebanon, while Blair said Britain was looking at the possibility of creating an air bridge for its citizens. Their comments came a day after world leaders forged a unified response at their G-8 summit to the crisis in the Middle East, blaming Hizbullah and Hamas for the escalating violence and recognizing Israel's right to defend itself - although they called on the Jewish state to show restraint. The statement was a compromise between a US position strongly supporting Israel's right to defend itself against terrorist attacks and the views of other G-8 countries that Israel was engaging in excessive force. "The most important thing is that it gives us, under the auspices of the UN, a plan of action," Blair said. "I am most pleased the leaders came together with a statement to say that we condemn violence, and to honor innocent life," US President George W. Bush said Monday before heading into a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "For the first time, we've really begun to address with clarity the root causes of the recent conflict in the Middle East, and that is terrorist acts, mainly Hizbullah that - housed and encouraged by Syria, financed by Iran - are making these moves to stop the progress of peace," Bush said. Asked why the document did not name Syria as a sponsor of terrorism, Russian President Vladimir Putin said late Sunday that it was "our principled position." "If we don't have enough grounds to blame somebody, we cannot on such make our conclusions and put them in documents on such a serious state level just based on assertions, even if we find them logical."

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