No details in call for Lebanese ceasefire
U.S., European, Arab and Canadianrepresentatives agreed Wednesday on the need for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon, butfailed to come up with a detailed plan on how one could be put in place.
Speaking during the summit in Rome, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urgedparticipants from more than 15 countries to continuework aimed at endingthe "spasms of violence" in Lebanon.
"There is much work to do and everyone has a role to play," Rice said, but addedthat the U.S. does not want to seea return to the status quo of instability and uncertainty in Lebanon. "We have to be effective," she said
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said any solution to the problem of violence in the region must include Iran and Syria.
Annan also called for thecreation of an internationalforce to helpthe Lebanese governmentregain its authority over the countryandimplement UN resolutions that wouldlead to the disarming ofthe militant group Hezbollah.
Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema read a statementto reporters, makingclear that the participants agreedthe violence in the region must end. He also said the countries in attendancepledged their support of humanitarian efforts to help the people of Lebanon.
D'Alema saidthe delegatesalso agreed on the need to deploy an international force under a UN mandate in southern Lebanon, andto support Lebanon in efforts to reconstruct the country once the violence ends.
'Ceasefire must be sustainable'
"Participants expressed their determination to work immediately to reach, with utmost urgency, a ceasefire that puts an end to the current violence and hostilities. The ceasefire must be lasting, permanent and sustainable," D'Alema said.
D'Alema noted that a Jordanian military planearrived in Beiruton Wednesday, making it the first to use the city's airport since it was closed July 13 following an Israeli attack. The airplane isone of threeexpected Wednesdayto bring equipment for afield military hospital in the area.
Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay represented Canada at the summit, which was held under tight security.Officials from Britain, France, Jordan and Egypt also attended.
Rice has repeatedly said the region needs a sustainable ceasefire that ensures Hezbollah no longer poses a threat to Israel.
In a statement at the beginning of the conference, Annan saidboth sides in the conflict must halt their attacks.
Annan said Hezbollah should stop its "deliberate targeting of Israeli population centres" and Israel must stop its air strikes, naval blockades and ground incursions into Lebanon.
"A key stipulation for such a halt in fighting would be that the parties must not, I repeat, must not take advantage of such a pause to conduct offence operations, redeploy or resupply," Annan said.
Annan added that an international force is necessary to keep the peace in the region.
Solution lies in the region: Harper
The summit was expected to delve into such issues as the conditions necessary for establishing a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah, how to prevent Hezbollah from posing a threat to Israel, and how to put together an international peacekeeping forcefor the Israel-Lebanon border. However,the statement read at the news conference did not address those details.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday that Canada would rather not send troops to the Middle East as part of an international peacekeeping force in Lebanon.
Harper said Mideast countries would be in a better position than Canada to enforce a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.
"I think, ultimately, a solution lies in the region," Harper said Tuesday in Cambridge, Ont. "Canada's first choice is not to have Canadians or foreign troops enforcing this."
According to the Department of National Defence, Canada has troops involved in missions in the Golan Heights, Egypt, Jerusalem, Lebanon and Cyprus. Canada recently deployed about 100 troops in Beirut and Cyprus to help foreign affairs officials move Canadians out of Lebanon.
The U.S. has said an international force in southern Lebanon should be led by NATO. It said it would like the UN to sanction the use of force there in the same way it has for coalition forces in Afghanistan.