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UPDATED: 09:21, July 17, 2006
Security Council fails to agree on ceasefire statement
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The UN Security Council failed to reach agreement on a statement calling for a ceasefire in Lebanon, following closed-door consultations late on Saturday.

After the meeting, Lebanese representative Nouhad Mahmoud said he was "very disappointed" at the 15-member council's inaction, which he blamed on the United States.

"There was no agreement on a text tonight," French Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, the council's president for July, said.

The meeting followed a security council briefing on the latest development in Lebanon from Jean-Marie Guehenno, under-secretary general for UN peacekeeping operations.

"I expected much more from the Security Council," said Mahmoud, warning the council's failure to act to stop the bloodshed "would send a very wrong signal not only to the Lebanese people, but to Arab people, to all small nations, that we are left (to face) the might of Israel."

He had pressed the council to call for a ceasefire and for the protection of civilians in the face of relentless Israeli bombardment.

"We wanted more than a statement, we wanted a resolution, we wanted a ceasefire," he said.

Lebanon also failed to secure a halt to Israel's offensive at an emergency UN Security Council debate on Friday, with the US standing firmly behind its ally Israel.

De La Sabliere, meanwhile, said the council would meet again this morning for a briefing by Guehenno and UN undersecretary general for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari on the implications of the current violence in Lebanon and on the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon.

Its current six-month peacekeeping mandate expires on July 31.

Source: China Daily

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