Chirac calls on Lebanon to accept 'responsibilities'

7th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 6, 2006 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac called Sunday on those involved in the conflict in Lebanon to live up to their obligations to end the fighting.

PARIS, Aug 6, 2006 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac called Sunday on those involved in the conflict in Lebanon to live up to their obligations to end the fighting.

"Our aim is to arrive as soon as possible at a sustainable ceasefire through a political agreement which takes into account the worries of all the parties," Chirac said in a statement released by the Elysée Palace.

"Everyone should accept their responsibilities," he said, as Lebanon rejected a draft UN resolution calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and Syria warned it was ready for war.

On Saturday the United States and France submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council calling for "a full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations."

Lebanon is unhappy with the draft because it does not call for a withdrawal of Israeli troops after the cessation of hostilities.

Syria said Sunday it was ready for a regional war and criticised the draft, saying it favoured the continuation of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said earlier that France had taken note of Beirut's rejection of the UN resolution aimed at ending the conflict in Lebanon, but said Beirut had to understand that any deal needed the agreement of both parties to the conflict.

"Of course we have taken note of the demands of Lebanon's prime minister (Fuad Siniora) to whom I spoke a few hours ago by phone," he told French radio.

He listed the demands as: "The cessation of hostilities, which, for him, means the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanese territory, the fact that the displaced local people can immediately return home and that the text be more specific on the Shebaa farms."

The Lebanese government has said it wants an immediate and overall ceasefire, a prisoner exchange between Hezbollah and Israel, and the dispatch of the Lebanese army to southern Lebanon.

But, Douste-Blazy said, Lebanon had to understand that an agreement could only be reached "by both sides", meaning that Israel too had to accept it.

"We are working at present with the parties concerned, the Israeli side and the Arab side," he said.

"Now we have to see how can to respond to these concerns," Douste-Blazy said in a statement issued later by his office. "I repeat that a cessation of hostilities is urgent and essential to stop the violence and permit Lebanon and Israel to engage one another to find a long-term political solution."

The French foreign minister had held talks on the resolution Sunday with his colleagues from several Arab countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, his office said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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