The French Foreign Minister has met his Iranian counterpart in Beirut. Philippe Douste-Blazy described Iran as a significant, respected player in the Middle East which is playing a stabilising role, putting him at odds with Washington. He said contacts with Tehran were important to help resolve the crisis in Lebanon. The Lebanese and Israeli UN representatives clashed at yesterday’s UN Security Council meeting, blaming each other for the carnage at Qana.
Lebanon’s Acting Foreign Minister Tarek Mitri said: “I’ve also come to ask for setting in motion a process of international investigation with regard to the crime of Qana.”
He repeated his plea for an immediate end to the bloodshed. Israel’s UN representative Dan Gillerman said: “How long can we keep hearing these alibis and excuses for the violence. Violence is there because you have allowed violence to take you over.”
Meanwhile, the Security Council has extended the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon for one month, to give world powers more time to discuss a new international peacekeeping force.