Lebanon: Governments around globe hail UN resolution

Report
from Deutsche Presse Agentur
Published on 12 Aug 2006
August 12, 2006_ Governments and institutions around the world Saturday hailed the UN Security Council Resolution to try to end the conflict in Lebanon, urging that it quickly be implemented and urging the warring parties to adhere to it.
In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the resolution and called for it to be put into effect quickly. "This is an important signal of the resolve of the international community to end the hostilities," she said. Berlin had constantly sought a diplomatic resolution of the conflict, she added.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who visited Israel and Lebanon in the run-up to the Security Council vote, said the resolution provided an opportunity that must not be wasted.

"The resolution opens up a perspective to halt long term this conflict which has already gone on too long," Steinmeier said.

In Paris, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said that over the short term, the resolution would spell "an end to the suffering" of people in the region. Over the long run, it would pose a "comprehensive political solution so that this (conflict) does not get repeated," he Le Monde in remarks set to be published Sunday.

Blazy said France was ready to take part in a UN force "within a European framework" in southern Lebanon.

Meanwhile in remarks published in London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair called on Israel and the Hezbollah to "immediately" stop their fighting in the wake of the UN Security Council Resolution to stop the conflict in Lebanon.

In a statement while on his holidays in the Caribbean, Blair cautioned there would still be "difficulties" in implementing the resolution which calls for a 15,000-strong UN peacekeeping force along with Lebanese forces to be deployed in southern Lebanon.

"The hostilities on both sides should cease immediately now that the resolution has finally been agreed by the whole of the international community," Blair said.

"However, there will continue to be difficulties until it is clear that the combination of Lebanese forces and the UN multinational force can be effectively deployed in returning control of the south of Lebanon to the Lebanese government," he added.

In Brussels, the European Union welcomed the resolution and urged all parties to "implement it without delay." A statement issued by the Finnish Foreign Ministry - Finland currently holds the EU's rotating Presidency - stated:

"The Presidency of the European Union welcomes the United Nations Security Council's unanimous approval of Resolution 1701 that calls for a full cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah. This resolution sets the required framework for a political settlement that only can bring a lasting solution to the crisis.

"The Presidency urges all parties to fully respect the resolution and implement it without delay," it added.

In Sydney, Australia backed the resolution while warning that long-term peace in the Middle East was dependent on Syria and Iran recognizing Israel's right to exist.

"This resolution does not mean the end to the crisis," Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said. "This will not occur until the underlying causes of the conflict are resolved."

Iran and Syria are both accused of backing Hezbollah militants, which have been engaged in a month-long war with Israel in southern Lebanon. Downer said in a statement that it was essential for the Hezbollah militia to stop its rocket attacks against Israel.

"It is also essential Iran and Syria respect the resolution and Israel's right to exist within secure borders," he said.

In Manila, the Phillipines goverment hailed the resolution. Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said the Philippines was hopeful the resolution would lead to a ceasefire agreement between Israeli troops and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militant group.

"We are one with the world in wishing that the UN resolution would pave the way for early cessation of hostilities," he said.

The Philippines has been scrambling to evacuate more than 30,000 workers from Lebanon since the war erupted. So far more than 4,700 Filipinos have already returned to Manila.

In Jordan, Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit said his country considered the UN resolution to be a "first step" towards a ceasefire and urged the Lebanese government to endorse it.

"We hope that the Lebanese will accept this resolution which represents a first step towards halting this bloodshed," Bakhit told reporters after talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"This is because the Lebanon war has been one of the ramifications of the failure to find a solution for the Palestinian issue," Bakhit said.

US President George W Bush, in a statement from his ranch in Crawford, Texas where he is on holiday, welcomed the resolution and said the international community must now follow up words with deeds and make every effort to achieve lasting peace in the region.

At the same time, Bush blamed Hezbollah's "terrorist attacks" on Israel for having caused the current conflict and in turn, said it was Syria and Iran, as Hezbollah's "sponsors" which had inflicted an unwanted war, causing the suffering of millions of people. dpa sa tb jbp gl eb ajm tr ds

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