France condemns Lebanon strikes

13th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 13, 2006 (AFP) - France Thursday condemned Israeli army strikes on Lebanon as a "disproportionate act of war."

PARIS, July 13, 2006 (AFP) - France Thursday condemned Israeli army strikes on Lebanon as a "disproportionate act of war."

"We obviously condemn this disproportionate act of war which also has two consequences," Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on Europe 1 radio.

"The first is to force anyone wanting to now enter Lebanon to go either by sea or by Syria," he said.

"The second consequence is to run the risk of plunging Lebanon back into the worst years of war with the departure of Lebanese who will want to flee while they were in the process of rebuilding their country," he said.

The French foreign minister's reaction came after Israeli warplanes struck Beirut international airport and air raids, in which dozens of Lebanese civilians were killed in more than 50 Israeli air strikes across the country on Thursday, according to local police.

Israel began a land, sea, and air assault on Lebanon following Wednesday's abduction of two Israeli soldiers by the Shiite Hezbollah militia.

French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, meanwhile, described the situation as "extremely worrying," adding it must not go on "for local reasons as for world reasons."

"We must move towards a dialogue, recognising each other and permitting the civilian population to live in peace," she said on France Inter.

Alliot-Marie noted the region was the scene of local instability, but added: "That goes much further since what happens in the Middle East serves as a pretext for terrorism too."

And she added that the Israeli soldiers must be freed and that the violence stop.

France's "position of balance" allowed it to talk with both sides, she added. "It's a considerable asset for peace. But we cannot be alone. It's necessary for pressure to be put on each side by all those who can talk to them."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News

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