Germany 'troubled' by Israel-Lebanon clashes: minister

3rd August 2010, Comments 0 comments

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he was "troubled" by the deadly flare-up on the border between Israel and Lebanon Tuesday and warned against a further escalation of tensions.

"I am troubled by the violent clashes and deeply regret that there were apparently casualties," he said in a statement.

"An escalation of the situation must be avoided at all costs. I urge both sides to display a maximum of restraint and cooperation with UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon) peacekeepers."

Westerwelle said that everything must be done "so as not to endanger the efforts toward peace and equilibrium in the region."

The foreign ministry said that Berlin had contacted the Israeli and Lebanese governments as soon as news of the clashes broke and "called on both sides to show restraint."

Lebanese and Israeli troops traded fire Tuesday along their tense border in the fiercest clashes since a 2006 war, with two Lebanese soldiers, a journalist and a senior Israeli officer killed.

Each side blamed the other for sparking the conflict, with the Lebanese army acknowledging that it fired first.

Tension in the region has been mounting in recent months following reports Hezbollah was stockpiling weapons in preparation for a new war.

© 2010 AFP

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