Lebanon’s Prime Minister Faoud Siniora got less than he hoped for at the Rome conference on the Middle East crisis. He came hoping for an immediate ceasefire. He got an agreement on a beefed-up, better equipped multinational peacekeeping force to sit on Lebanon’s border with Israel. But no-one knows when, or if Hizbollah will disarm when it does arrive. In the meantime, Israeli jets and guns pound his country:
“The retaliation is definitely disproportionate with what has happened. If I were in the position of Mr Olmert I would really move directly toward solving the real problems. Throughout the past years did any of the actions that Israel committed over the years bring additional security and safety to Israel? Not at all”
The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stressed the meeting had examined the role third parties had to play in the conflict, and found two wanting;
“Syria has responsabiliies under 1559. And we’re also deeply concerned as we have said about the role of Iran. So it is indeed high time that every one make a choice. We can have and the people of Lebanon deserve, a stable, democratic, fully sovereign Lebanon at peace with itself and at peace with its neighbours”
The conference does represent a first step towards finding a diplomatic solution, but if results do not come quickly,the fears are Israeli military force may outstrip the peacemaker’s efforts.