Uruguay, Venezuela urge Israel's ceasefire in Lebanon

Uruguay and Venezuela on Monday called on Israel to stop its intense military offensive in Lebanon, according to reports from Caracas and Montevideo.

Uruguayan Foreign Minister Reinaldo Gargano said in a statement that Israel should cease fire and begin talks with Lebanon under the supervision of the United Nations.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said: "Venezuela rejects and condemns the disproportionate attacks that the state of Israel has unleashed during the last few days... against populations and infrastructure in both Palestine and Lebanon."

Israel has started airstrikes and artillery bombardment on Lebanon since July 12 when Lebanon's Hezbollah militia kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and killed eight in cross-border clashes.

The fighting between Israel and the Hezbollah guerrilla group over the past week has claimed 200 lives in Lebanon and killed about 24 people in Israel.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora on Saturday demanded an immediate ceasefire, describing his country as a disaster zone after the attacks.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed on Monday to continue operations in Lebanon before Hezbollah returned two captive Israeli soldiers, stopped rocket attacks on Israel and pulled back from borders with Israel.

Source: Xinhua

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