As frustration grows over diplomatic efforts to end hostilities, Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier struck a hopeful note yesterday after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Steinmeier said the Israeli government knows it would be in its interests for a UN resolution to be swiftly adopted. Germany has also indicated it could contribute to an international force in south Lebanon. But the question of when it should be deployed and the issue of Israeli troop withdrawal are among several sticking points holding up a draft resolution.
“We are trying to reconcile the views concerning the withdrawal and the decision of the Lebanese government to deploy 15,000 troops,” said Arab League Secretary General, Amr Moussa. The difficulties in crafting a text all sides can agree on means a vote before the end of the week is looking increasingly unlikely. Although they both want a quick vote on imposing a ceasefire, France and the US remain at odds over a timetable for Israeli troop withdrawal.