US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking after the Israeli bombing
of the Lebanese village of Qana, said it was time to reach a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hizbullah.
She said she was saddened by the bombing and confirmed that she had cancelled a planned trip to Beirut, but would stay in Israel to try to work out a deal for ending the 19-day-old
"I think it is time to get to a ceasefire ... We actually have to try and put one in place," Rice told reporters in Jerusalem. "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, which was triggered by Hizbullah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers in a raid out of south Lebanon on July 12.
Both Israel and the United States have said they want to ensure that Hizbullah can no longer carry out raids and rocket attacks and that it is eventually disarmed under a UN resolution.
"We have to try and do our work well so that there will not be more and more and more incidents over many, many more years," Rice said.
French President Jacques Chirac condemned the Israeli air strike in Qana and said it highlighted the need for an immediate ceasefire.
"The president learnt with concern about the act of violence which cost the lives of numerous innocent victims, notably women and children in Qana," his office said in a statement.
"France condemns this unjustified action which demonstrates more than ever the need for an immediate ceasefire without which there will only be other such incidents."
Jordan's King Abdullah said on Sunday that the Israeli air strike was an "ugly crime" And urged an immediate ceasefire to end Israel's military offensive.
"This criminal aggression is an ugly crime that has been committed by the Israeli forces in the city of Qana that is a gross violation of all international statutes," the monarch said in the first reaction by an Arab leader to the raid.