The United States wants any peace agreement to be linked to the disarmament of Hizbollah and President George Bush told reporters that it was long term stability in the region that was the foreign policy objective. “The United States is resolved to work with members of the United Nations Security Council to develop a resolution that will enable the region to have a sustainable peace, a peace that lasts, a peace that will enable mothers and fathers to raise their children in a hopeful world.”
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who faces mounting criticism at home for not calling for an immediate truce, defended his position: “This is an absolutely tragic situation but we have got to make sure that the discussion we are having and negotiations that we are conducting do lead to a genuine cessation of hostilities in a way that allows to put an end to them for good.”
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said a three stage process was needed: an immediate end to hostilities, a search for political agreement between all parties and, if agreement were reached, the deployment of an international peacekeeping force. Following in the footsteps of the European Union delegation, Douste-Blazy will visit Beirut today to discuss the crisis with the Lebanese government.
He criticised Washington and London for seeking to rush in a peace keeping force without first establishing the political conditions for a successful operation.
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