Hassan Nasrallah has said Hizbollah had not foreseen that the capture of two Israeli soldiers would trigger war in Lebanon – and said the action would not have been authorised had the consequences been anticipated. Speaking on Lebanese television, the Hizbollah leader said the conflict would not now reignite. As more French troops arrived in Lebanon, Nasrallah claimed Israel was talking up the threat of renewed hostilities in order to force the acceptance of peacekeepers, not just on the border between Israel and Lebanon, but also the border between Lebanon and Syria. This is a move which Hizbollah opposes.
Nasrallah said he would be happy to meet with UN Secretary General Koffi Annan, who is in Beirut today, and reiterated that he had no problem with the presence of a strengthened UNIFIL force, so long as its mission was not to disarm Hizbollah. The Lebanese government is reportedly engaged in negotiations with Israel over an exchange of prisoners. Nasrallah said that Italy is playing a key role as broker in the talks.