Two Leaders Want Peacekeepers to Be
Sent to Lebanon
By Steven Erlanger and Jad Mouawad
The New York Times
Monday 17 July 2006
Jerusalem - Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain and Secretary-General Kofi Annan of the United Nations called Monday for an international force in southern Lebanon to end the fighting between Israel and the Hezbollah militia, which continued for a sixth deadly day.
The United States and Israel reacted skeptically, with President Bush urging tartly that Mr. Annan telephone President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a key sponsor of Hezbollah, "and make something happen." In Russia for a Group of Eight summit meeting, Mr. Bush expressed his views to Mr. Blair, using an expletive in what he thought was a private comment caught by an open microphone.
With the Lebanese death toll exceeding 200 and the Israeli casualties at 24, the increased efforts to turn to diplomacy showed little prospect of an immediate way out. In Lebanon, the vast majority of those killed were civilians, while in Israel about half of the dead were civilians.
In a televised speech to parliament, Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, vowed to continue the offensive until Hezbollah freed two captured Israeli soldiers, the Lebanese Army was deployed along the border with Israel and Hezbollah was effectively disarmed. Hezbollah has consistently rejected those terms.