Malaysia's prime minister, who heads the world's largest Islamic political grouping, said Tuesday that Israel's offensive in Lebanon can no longer be tolerated, and urged the United Nations to enforce an immediate cease-fire.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi opened a meeting of the foreign ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations with a harsh rebuke against Israel.
"We should condemn Israel's latest use of disproportionate force in Gaza and the West Bank," said Abdullah, who also chairs the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. "We should not tolerate Israel's excessive military reprisals against Lebanon."
The Mideast crisis was expected to figure prominently in talks among foreign ministers of the 10-member ASEAN this week in Malaysia's largest city, Kuala Lumpur.
The meeting will be followed later in the week by the ASEAN Regional Forum, with participants from Asia and the West, including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
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