VIDEO - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday the solution to the Middle East crisis was to destroy Israel, state-media reported.
In a speech during an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Malaysia, Ahmadinejad also called for an immediate ceasefire to end the fighting between Israel and the Iranian-back group Hizbullah.
"Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate ceasefire must be implemented," Ahmadinejad said, according to state-run television in a report posted on its Web site.
'UN lacks courage'
The UN Security Council lacks courage to condemn Israel's attacks on the Lebanese and Palestinians, the head of the world's main Islamic bloc said Thursday, adding that Muslim nations must work to prevent Israeli impunity.
"The United Nations has not been able to do much except to try organizing the distribution of humanitarian aid," Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said in a speech opening an emergency summit of the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference.
PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Photo: AP)
The comments by Abdullah, the current chairman of the group, reflected growing frustration among Muslim governments after the UN on Wednesday canceled, for the second time, a meeting that could possibly have committed peacekeeping forces to Lebanon.
"No end seems to be in sight. The Security Council could not even muster the moral courage to condemn Israel" for the attack on the Lebanese village of Qana on Sunday that killed 56 people, mostly women and children, Abdullah said.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri said Israel's three-week offensive against Hizbullah had infuriated Muslims across the world.
"We do not want a clash of civilizations but all over the Muslim world a very negative feeling is arising on the street," he told reporters at the meeting.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran extends moral support to Hizbullah and denied accusations that Tehran financed and armed its Shiite proxy in Lebanon.
Lebanon's Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh said he wanted to see a strong condemnation of Israel's actions.
"We need a strong resolution condemning Israel to support Lebanon at this critical time," he told AFP late Wednesday.
"The main request, the sole request of Lebanon, is a comprehensive and immediate ceasefire, then the withdrawal of Israeli troops to the Israeli's territory," he said.
The minister also called for "an international judiciary committee to judge Israel for its criminal actions, and the return of the Lebanese displaced to their homes, villages and towns."
At least 548 Lebanese, mostly civilians, have been killed since fighting began three weeks ago between Hizbullah guerrillas and Israel's military. In all, 56 Israelis have died.
International peacekeeping force
Israel has also launched offensives against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas gunmen captured an Israeli soldier on June 25.
Abdullah said Malaysia, which chairs the OIC, was prepared to commit troops to any UN-led peacekeeping missions in Lebanon and Palestinian territories, and urged other Muslim nations to do the same.
Abdullah arranged a day-long summit of leaders and top officials from 17 Muslim-majority countries to discuss measures to end fighting in the Middle East.
"As leaders of the Islamic world, we have a moral and political obligation to do something," Abdullah said. "Israel cannot be allowed to continue with impunity its aggression" against the Lebanese and Palestinians.
They are also likely to push for member nations to be included among a UN peacekeeping force.
"We must play a proactive role in the present conflict," Abdullah said. "Our own people are watching us, and waiting for us to make the right decisions."