A UN envoy who visited Israel and Lebanon this week and met with Spain's foreign minister Wednesday called for a quick decision on whether to deploy a new international force to stop the escalating Mideast fighting.
"We're in a hurry. It has to happen fast," said Terje Roed-Larsen, adviser on Lebanon-Syria issues to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "There is serious work to be done in order to reach conclusions, which will be presented to the parties. The parties then have to agree with the presence of the force, what kind of force before it can go in."
Roed-Larsen spoke after meeting with Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, a former EU envoy to the Middle East. Roed-Larsen and two other UN envoys conferred with officials in Israel and Lebanon on Tuesday.
The trio stopped in Madrid on their way back to New York to brief Annan and the UN Security Council on their efforts to broker an end to the fighting, now in its second week.
The UN envoy to the Middle East, Alvaro de Soto, said it was too early to express optimism or pessimism on the team's efforts.