Photo: Reuters
UN Secretary-General Kofi Anna. 'Violence must stop'
Photo: Reuters

UN envoys condemn Israeli Qana attack

UN Security Council members slam Israel for strike in Lebanese village, while US and Britain refrain from condemning country. UN secretary-general calls for immediate ceasefire. Israel ambassador to UN: Qana residents were warned to leave

World leaders condemned an Israeli attack on Lebanon on Sunday that killed at least 54 civilians, but the United States and Britain again refrained from joining calls for an immediate ceasefire.


France, China, Jordan, Egypt, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Nations were among many to say the attack on the village of Qana showed the need for an immediate end to fighting between Israel and Hizbullah gunmen.


However, the US and British positions highlighted international divisions as the UN Security Council met to discuss the 19-day-old war.


Israel's UN Envoy Danny Gillerman said that the village of Qana was a hub for Hizbullah. He added that Israel has warned the residents of the Lebanese village to leave prior to Sunday's deadly attack.


"They target us specifically. This is their declared aim and this is what we are fighting," he said of the Lebanese group that ignited the current fighting by seizing two Israeli soldiers earlier this month. "I am beseeching you not to play into their hands, not to provide them with what they are seeking while sacrificing their own people as human shields and as victims," Gillerman said.


Annan calls for ceasefire


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called again for an immediate halt to violence between


Israel and Hizbullah, telling the Security Council he was "deeply disturbed" that his previous appeals went unheeded.


"We meet at a moment of extreme gravity first and foremost for the people of the Middle East but also for the authority of this organization and especially this council," Annan said. "Action is needed now before many more children, women and men become casualties of a conflict over which they have no control."


Egypt blasts "massacre"


"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," French President Jacques Chirac's office said in a statement.


Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao warned of "an even greater disaster" if the fighting carried on. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa called for an international investigation into "this massacre and other Israeli war crimes".


The United States said Israel must avoid civilian casualties but stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire.


A White House statement said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Jerusalem, was working to arrange the conditions for a "sustainable" ceasefire soon.


British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said world leaders must try to pick up the pieces after the bombing and agree on a UN resolution.


פרסום ראשון: 07.30.06, 20:19
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