Lebanese premier calls on UN to impose ceasefire

WASHINGTON (9 Aug 2006) - LEBANESE Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, in a letter published Wednesday in the Washington Post, called on the UN to end the fighting in his country, which he implicitly blamed on Israel without mentioning its enemy, Hezbollah.

On possibly the eve of a UN Security Council vote on a resolution on Lebanon, Siniora pushed his seven-point plan to end the war presented July 25, to which he added his latest proposal to deploy the Lebanese military in southern Lebanon.

"I believe that a political resolution rooted in international law and based on these seven points will lead to long-term stability," said the prime minister.

He called a military solution to "Israel's savage war on Lebanon ... morally unacceptable and totally unrealistic," and called on the international community to "end this folly now." After listing the death and destruction wreaked by Israel over the past four weeks in his country, estimating it in the billions of dollars, he demanded "an international inquiry into Israel's criminal actions ... and insist that Israel pay compensation for its wanton destruction." Siniora said Lebanon "will remain steadfast and united in the face of this latest Israeli aggression ..." "The people's will to resist grows ever stronger with each village demolished and each massacre committed," he added.

"If Israel would realize that the peoples of the Middle East cannot be cowed into submission, that they aspire only to live in freedom and dignity, it could also be a stepping stone to a final solution of the wider Arab-Israeli conflict, which has plagued our region for 60 years," the prime minister said.

A political solution, however, was unattainable, he added, "as long as Israel continues to occupy Arab land in Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank and the Syrian Golan Heights and as long as it wages war on innocent people in Lebanon and Palestine." Lebanon is hoping to amend a draft UN Security Council resolution agreed by the United States and France in an effort to secure an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the south of the country.

Siniora has expressed grave reservations with the draft resolution calling for a "full cessation" of fighting -- but not for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon.-AFP

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