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Rice back in Mideast on fresh diplomatic mission

Rice back in Mideast on fresh diplomatic mission
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Condoleezza Rice has arrived in Israel for crisis talks as the conflict between the Israeli army and Hizbollah guerrillas shows no signs of abating. The US Secretary of State is pushing both sides to agree to a UN resolution to end the fighting. She’s also seeking support for an international force in southern Lebanon.

Her visit comes after Israel rejected calls by the UN for a three day truce to allow the safe passage of aid to trapped civilians in southern Lebanon. Israeli government spokesman Avi Pazner blamed militants for the problem.

“It is the Hezbollah, who is deliberately preventing the transfer of medical aid and food to the population of Southern Lebanon,” he said.

Some 800,000 people are estimated to have been displaced by the conflict. Aid shipments continue to arrive, though accessing those caught in the fighting is proving difficult and some 200 villages remain cut off. Clean water water is also being brought in to try and help stop the almost inevitable spread of disease.