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steinmeier 298.88.(Photo by: AP)
Germany's Steinmeier meets with Peretz
associated press
08/09/2006
German FM urges defense minister to accept terms of UN resolution draft.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met Wednesday with Defense Minister Amir Peretz in Jerusalem, to urge Israel to accept the terms of a draft UN resolution that aims to end four weeks of fighting between Israel and Hizbullah guerrillas. Peretz told Steinmeier that he would ask the Security Cabinet on Wednesday to approve a plan for the army to expand its operation in south Lebanon in order to deal with Hizbullah rocket launchers. "We will not agree to a situation in which the diplomatic solution will not promise us stability and quiet for many years," Peretz was quoted as saying by participants in the meeting. The Security Cabinet was expected to approve the expanded military plan. Steinmeier is on a three-day trip to the region with meetings scheduled with Lebanese and Israeli leaders. Steinmeier and Peretz did not address the media during their meeting. Steinmeier was set to meet Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni later Wednesday. Berlin has avoided directly criticizing Israel since fighting erupted, repeatedly underscoring the Jewish state's right to exist and its right to self defense. It has called for a cease-fire "as quickly as possible" rather than immediately. At the same time, Germany has been trying to draw Syria - a key supporter of the Hizbullah - into efforts to defuse the crisis. On Thursday, Steinmeier is to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
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