Arab states look for amendments in UN resolution as vote delayed
Arab League foreign ministers, meeting in Beirut, decided to send a delegation Monday to try to push through proposed Lebanese amendments to a draft United Nations resolution seeking to end violence, a Lebanese official said.
The official, according to the AP, said the Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and the foreign ministers of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates would leave for New York.
"The foreign ministers have decided to send a delegation... today to the United Nations to speak on behalf of Lebanon and to seek amendments to the Security Council resolution in line with the Lebanese demands," the official said.
Lebanon has demanded the American-French draft resolution include a call for an immediate withdrawal of some 10,000 Israeli troops from its soil.
Meanwhile, US President Bush on Monday said he anticipates that Hizbullah and Israel will not agree with all aspects of a Mideast cease-fire resolution but said "we all recognize that the violence must stop." The American leader said the United States and its allies were pressing for a comprehensive solution that would restore Lebanon's sovereignty and provide a lasting peace.
Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke about the Mideast during a meeting with reporters at his Texas ranch. Rice is expected to go to the United Nations for deliberations on twin resolutions for a cease-fire and the establishment of a peacekeeping force.
She called the resolutions "a reasonable basis that I think both sides can accept" once details are worked out. Bush said the goal was to find consensus quickly on a resolution calling for a cessation of violence.
"I understand that both parties aren't going to agree with all aspects of the resolution," the president said. "But the intent of the resolutions is to strengthen the Lebanese government so Israel has got a partner in peace."
At the United Nations, the United States and France delayed action on the cease-fire measure to consider demands from Lebanon and Arab states over the withdrawal of Israeli troops.
The proposed changes include a call for Israeli forces to pull out of Lebanon once the fighting stops and hand over their positions to U.N. peacekeepers.
"I don't believe anybody anticipates that there should be foreign forces on Lebanese soil as a result of what has happened here," Rice said.
Bush emphasized that the U.N. resolution must deal with Hizbullah, which he said was the root cause of the violence. "Whatever happens in the United Nations, we must not create a vacuum in which Hezbollah and its sponsors can move more weapons," he said.
"Sometimes the world likes to take the easy route in order to solve a problem," Bush said.
Bush blamed Syria and Iran for fomenting trouble by supporting Hizbullah. "Syria and Iran sponsor and promote Hizbullah activities all aimed at creating chaos, all aimed at using terror to stop the advance of democracies," the president said.