Villepin expresses support for Israel's security

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin offered unwavering French support Sunday for Israel amid security threats, but criticized Israeli military flights over Lebanese territory. France "stands resolutely at the side of Israel" in the midst of new flare-ups in Mideast violence, and Israeli security will require an end to conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, Villepin said. "The halt to all violence is indispensable," he told a meeting of the World Jewish Congress's governing board, meeting for the first time in Paris. Villepin criticized continued Israeli overflights of Lebanon following the 34-day war this summer between Israel and Hizbullah fighters, calling them a "violation of the sovereignty of Lebanon." French officials have regularly complained that the overflights violate a UN cease-fire resolution that paved the way for an end to the fighting.