Lebanese Prime Minister Fuoad Siniora expressed his 'gratitude' to Hizbullah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah for "sacrificing their lives for the country."
During a press conference held in wake of the Qana village incident in which 55 Lebanese were killed, Siniora asked: "Is Israel's mission to wipe out the Lebanese? It seems they want to kill all of us. One of those killed today is a baby just one day old. With its aggression, Israel is encouraging extremism."
"Israel won't obtain a thing through the war," he added. "Does it believe that through war it will obtain goals? They won't obtain a thing, and the opposite is the truth. The entire Lebanese nation is united against the Israeli aggression," Siniora said.
Siniora emphasized that Lebanon won't take part in negotiations between Israel and Hizbullah "until the Israeli war machine stops spilling the blood of innocents."
Admiration for Nasrallah
He said that "in order to reach a general ceasefire Israel must pull back to its borders. Then, Lebanon will fulfill its obligations according to the seven clauses approved by the government."
Among others, the Lebanese government committed itself to an immediate ceasefire, the deployment of its army across all of Lebanon including the south, and the applying of a law according to which only the Lebanese army can carry weapons across the whole of the country.
Siniora repeatedly stressed his desire to reach a ceasefire, and called on the UN Security Council to meet immediately and act on the issue.
The Lebanese prime minister added that he esteems those who fell in "the defense of Lebanon,"' and said that his government is doing everything to strengthen its stance. He even expressed his "full admiration for Nasrallah and all those who sacrifice their lives for Lebanon."
Peres: Siniora has no control over Lebanon
Earlier, Siniora was interviewed on the American CBS network and turned to American citizens for aid in reaching an immediate ceasefire. The Lebanese prime minister declared that "there was no point in holding diplomatic negotiations when the blood was boiling."
In response, Vice Premier Shimon Peres, who arrived at the United States to manage Israel's public relations, said that "Siniora can tell Hizbullah to stop firing and there will be a ceasefire, but the government there is acting like a side observer. When Hizbullah stops shooting, the tragedy will end."
Peres added that the Lebanese people were not Israel's enemies, but that they could not allow Hizbullah to act as a state within a state. Peres said that Siniora does not have influence over his country.