VARIOUS: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urges a ceasefire in Middle East, echoed by the French Foreign...
- Title: VARIOUS: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urges a ceasefire in Middle East, echoed by the French Foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy
- Date: 21st July 2006
- Summary: (AMERICA) UNITED NATIONS (FILE) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF UNITED NATIONS BUILDING WITH FLAGS
- Reuters ID: LVAAY3M2JWOCPD3YCMM2OUH31DGT
- Duration: 00:00:05
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- Topics: War / Fighting
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- Story Text: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with the United Nation's Three-Member Team on Friday (July 21) to discuss the continued fighting between Israel and Hizbollah.
Rice, along with other U.S. officials including the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, met with Vijay Nambiar, Alvaro De Soto, and Terje Roed-Larsen, who were sent to the Middle East by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to try to defuse the crisis. After meeting with Rice, the team will brief the Security Council on their trip later on Friday.
Unlike the U.N. and key European allies that want a ceasefire as soon as possible, the United States stresses the need for what it calls a "durable" solution to the crisis before any ceasefire can be implemented.
Rice intends to travel to the Middle East as early as next week to press for a political solution to reduce fighting between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, her spokesman said on Thursday (July 20).
Meanwhile, the French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy arrived in Lebanon on Friday (July 21) to discuss the Israeli-Lebanese conflict with Lebanese officials including Prime Minister Fuad Seniora, the parliament speaker and the foreign minister.
Douste-Blazy was then to continue to Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan and Israel.
Earlier in the day, the French foreign minister met with French nationals awaiting their evacuation.
French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin condemned in Beirut four days ago Hizbollah's kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, and stressed on his country's full support to Lebanon.
French Foreign Minister visits Beirut reiterating the calls of his government for a ceasefire and condemns the extremists powers aiming at shaking the stability of the region.
Hizbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers on July 12, saying it was "executing its vow" to free thousands of prisoners in the Israeli jails.
Fighting between Israel and Hizbollah is weakening Lebanon's government while doing little or nothing to undermine popular support for Hizbollah in Lebanon, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Thursday (July 20).
In a speech to the U.N. Security Council, Annan called for an immediate end to the fighting and proposed sending an international force to southern Lebanon to bolster the Lebanese army so it can fully deploy along the border with Israel, where Hizbollah fighters now have de facto control.
Annan accused Hizbollah of holding "an entire nation hostage" by abducting Israeli troops and firing rockets on Israel. He condemned Israel for using excessive force in Lebanon, which he said weakened the Beirut government, killed innocent people and was wrecking the country.
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