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Home >> World
UPDATED: 07:22, July 23, 2006
Egyptian, French FMs call for ceasefire in Lebanon
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Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit and his visiting French counterpart Philippe Douste-Blazy urged on Saturday for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon as the conflict between Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah and Israel entered an 11th day.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Abul Gheit, Douste- Blazy, who arrived here on late Friday from the Lebanese capital of Beirut on a two-day visit to Mideast, called on the international community to act immediately to achieve a ceasefire.

Douste-Blazy also warned that the continued conflict between Israel and Hezbollah could result in "the destruction of Lebanon", calling for a fast delivery of humanitarian aid to the Lebanese people.

As for the UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which demands the deployment of the Lebanese army along the border with Israel and disarmament of all militia including Hezbollah, Douste-Blazy said that there would not be solutions to the conflict without the implementation of the resolution.

The top French diplomat also asserted that only political dialogue could lead to a durable solution.

For his part, Abul Gheit said that he agreed with France's views over the situation in Lebanon, adding that both countries were seeking to have the Lebanese army deployed in south Lebanon.

He also expressed hope that the conflict could end with an increase of the international peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon and an exchange of prisoners.

The senior Egyptian official also revealed that Egypt would take part in a Russia-proposed international conference on Lebanon, which is expected to be held in Rome in the coming days.

According to Abul Gheit, the conference will also be participated by officials from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United States, Britain, France, Russia, Italy, the United Nations and the World Bank.

Egypt was Douste-Blazy's third leg of his five-nation tour in the region, which has already taken him to Lebanon and Cyprus. Jordan and Israel will be his next stops.

Douste-Blazy's Middle East tour came against a backdrop of a massive Israeli assault against Lebanon which is under Israeli air raids and blockade since Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others in a cross-border attack on July 12.

Hezbollah has demanded Israel release prisoners held in Israeli jails in exchange for the two soldiers, but Israel has rejected it.

Source: Xinhua

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