Malaysia to US: Pressure Israel to halt war

Malaysia, which helms the world's biggest Muslim political grouping, urged the United States on Wednesday to use its influence to stop Israel's operations in Lebanon, and described the destruction of a UN border outpost by Israeli bombs as deeply shocking. "This is the very reason why we think (a) cease-fire should be done immediately," Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said on the margins of a regional security meeting in Kuala Lumpur. "It is easy to express deep regret after the event has happened." Syed Hamid said he plans to speak with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about regional and international security issues during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' Regional Forum conference, set for Thursday and Friday. The Middle East situation would be part of those discussions, Syed Hamid added. Malaysia currently chairs the 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, which is hoping to gather leaders of Muslim countries for a meeting soon to discuss how to halt Israel's offensive in Lebanon.