Lebanon Says Rice Unwelcome

BEIRUT — With the bodies of slain children and women being dog out from under the rubble of buildings pounded by Israel in the southern village of Qana, Lebanon told Condoleezza Rice on Sunday, July 30, she would be unwelcome in the country without an imm

Lebanon Says Rice Unwelcome

BEIRUT — With the bodies of slain children and women being dog out from under the rubble of buildings pounded by Israel in the southern village of Qana, Lebanon told US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday, July 30, she would be unwelcome in the country without an immediate ceasefire.

"There is no place on this sad morning for any discussion other than an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as well as an international investigation into the Israeli massacres in Lebanon now," Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told a news conference in Beirut, reported Reuters.

"Targeting this innocent village is unacceptable," he said.

Siniora called on the international community and Arab countries "to stand united in the face of the Israeli war criminals."

"The persistence of Israel in its heinous crimes against our civilians will not break the will of the Lebanese people."

An Israeli air strike killed at least 55 civilians, mostly children, in Qana, the bloodiest single attack during Israel's 19-day-old war on Lebanon.

Qana was the site of an Israeli bombing of a UN base on April 18, 1996, that killed 105 people who had taken refuge there during Israel's "Grapes of Wrath" offensive.

Hundreds of people, mostly Lebanese civilians, have been killed in Israeli attacks since July 12.

Time for Ceasefire

Rice said it was time for a ceasefire in Lebanon. (Reuters)

A saddened Rice confirmed she had cancelled plans to go to Beirut Sunday after the bombing of Qana.

"I think it is time to get to a ceasefire ... We actually have to try and put one in place," Rice told reporters.

"My work towards a ceasefire is really here today."

But Rice reiterated that a ceasefire could not mean a return to the position before the war.

The air strike occurred as Rice was in occupied Jerusalem on a mission to persuade Israel and Lebanon to agree on an international force to deploy on the border.

Rice had dinner Saturday with Olmert. She had breakfast Sunday with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and later met with Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

She had been expected to meet Siniora in Beirut later in the day.

Rice hoped to clear the way for a UN resolution that would put in place an international peacekeeping force.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said his country was "in no rush" for a ceasefire.

A draft resolution circulated Saturday by France among the 14 other Security Council members would call for an immediate halt to the fighting and establish a wide new buffer zone in south Lebanon monitored by international forces and the Lebanese army.

Playing solo, the US has been opposing calls by Lebanon, Arab countries and even the Europeans for an immediate ceasefire.

Over the US opposition, fifteen countries and three international bodies that assembled in the Italian capital failed on Wednesday, July 26, to call for an immediate ceasefire.

The Bush administration has backed Israeli demands for Hizbullah to pull back from the border and release two soldiers taken prisoners before any ceasefire could be possible.

Justice Minister Haim Ramon said Israel saw the outcome of the Rome meeting as an "authorization to continue our operations."

Source:islamonline.net

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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