Photo: Reuters
To help parties establish timetable for truce. Annan
Photo: Reuters
Photo: AP
'Hizbullah and its sponsors have brought devastation upon the people of Lebanon.' Rice
Photo: AP

UN adopts ceasefire resolution

Security Council unanimously adopts resolution calling for end to fighting between Israel and Hizbullah, but Jerusalem says offensive in Lebanon would not be halted yet. Rice demands that other nations stop interfering in Lebanon's affairs

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1701 on Friday calling for an end to fighting between Israel and Hizbullah, but Jerusalem said its offensive in Lebanon would not be halted yet.


The vote in New York capped weeks of anguished negotiations on a plan to halt the war, triggered on July 12 when Hizbullah guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid.


The resolution approved by the 15-nation Security Council authorized up to 15,000 UN Troops to be deployed to monitor a withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon and to help the Lebanese army enforce a ceasefire.


The Lebanese government accepted the resolution and would issue a formal acceptance on Saturday, an official source said.


Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told US President George W. Bush he backed the resolution, an Israeli government official said.


“The prime minister spoke with President Bush and thanked him for his assistance in keeping Israeli interests in mind at the Security Council,” the official said. Olmert will urge his cabinet to approve the UN Resolution at a meeting on Sunday.


An Israeli official said before the vote, however, the Israeli army would not stop its offensive in Lebanon until the cabinet met on Sunday to consider the resolution.


Earlier, Olmert ordered an expansion in the ground offensive against Hizbullah, which has strongholds in southern Lebanon.


Israeli attacks killed 26 people in Lebanon on Friday, seven of them when a drone fired rockets at a convoy of hundreds of cars fleeing the south. An Israeli soldier was killed in fighting and Hizbullah rockets wounded seven people in Israel.


The UN Resolution called for a “Full cessation of hostilities”. Hizbullah should stop all attacks immediately and Israel should end “All offensive operations”, it said.


'Respect Lebanese sovereignty'  


After fighting stops, Israel must withdraw all its forces from southern Lebanon at the earliest opportunity, said the resolution. Lebanon is due to deploy its armed forces throughout southern Lebanon as Israel withdraws.


US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew to New York to participate in the voting to end the war, in which at least 1,041 people in Lebanon and 124 Israelis have been killed.


Rice phoned Olmert and Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to try to get them to accept the resolution, said US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. She later told CNN she expected both countries to accept the resolution.


Rice said the "hard work of diplomacy" was only beginning with the passage of the resolution and that it would be unrealistic to expect an immediate end to all violence. She said the United States would increase its assistance to Lebanon to USD 50 million, and demanded other nations stop interfering in its affairs.


"Today we call upon every state, especially Iran and Syria, to respect the sovereignty of the Lebanese government and the will of the international community," she told the council. Iran and Syria back Hizbullah and supply it weapons.


The secretary of state cautioned that no one could expect the resolution to end all violence, saying: "The conditions of a lasting peace must be nurtured over time.


“Six years after Israel withdrew completely from Lebanon, a terrorist group – Hizbullah - crossed an international boundary, captured and killed Israeli soldiers, and began firing thousands of rockets into Israeli cities. Hizbullah and its sponsors have brought devastation upon the people of Lebanon, dragging them into a war that they did not choose, and exploiting them as human shields,” she said.


War is not politics


Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman said at the Security Council that “Israel, like any state, has the right and duty to defend its citizens from Hizbullah’s unprovoked attacks, to bring its captive soldiers home, and to continue its efforts to complete the task of rooting out the terrorists and remove the threat they present to the Israeli and Lebanese peoples.


“However, it is ready to respond to the calls of this council, and to give another chance to the government of Lebanon and the international community to create a new reality on the ground,” he said.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he would help the parties over the weekend to establish a timetable for a truce.


He chastised the Security Council for not acting sooner when civilians on both sides "Have suffered such terrible, unnecessary pain and loss."


"All members of this council must be aware that this inability to act sooner has badly shaken the world's faith in its authority and integrity," Annan said in an address. "War is not politics by other means."


British Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed the resolution and said he planned to visit the Middle East soon to search for ways to bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians.


"We must work to address the underlying root causes of this conflict," Blair said in a statement. "We must never lose sight of the fact that the conflict in Lebanon arose out of the desire to exploit the continuing impasse in Palestine."


Hizbullah fires more than 55 rockets into Israel


At the insistence of Lebanon, the United States and Britain agreed to drop a reference to Chapter 7 of the UN Charter that permits a robust UN Peacekeeping operation.


But the text still carried strong rules of engagement for the UN Force that France was expected to lead.


Israeli raids on a bridge near the border with Syria killed 12 people and wounded 18, hospital staff said. Witnesses said a second strike hit the bridge 15 minutes after the first had brought rescuers rushing to the scene.


Witnesses and rescue workers said seven people were killed and 36 wounded when an Israeli drone fired rockets at a convoy of hundreds of vehicles that had left the town of Marjayoun, seized by Israel on Thursday. Around 3,000 civilians and 350 Lebanese security men were in the convoy.


Israeli bombs also hit electricity transformers and cut off power to the southern city of Tyre, security sources said.


Hizbullah announced the death of four more of its fighters.


More bombs hit Beirut’s battered Shiite Muslim suburbs, hours after dawn raids on the capital. Many people fled the suburbs on Thursday after Israel dropped warning leaflets.


Hizbullah fired more than 55 rockets into Israel, wounding seven people, Israeli police and ambulance staff said.


Humanitarian agencies sought ways to get aid to an estimated 100,000 people trapped in southern Lebanon and the mayor of Tyre said the city could run out of food in two days.


Aid convoys have been unable to deliver supplies since an Israeli air strike hit a bridge on the Litani River on Monday.


פרסום ראשון: 08.12.06, 03:39
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