Monday, July 24, 2006

Australian ambassador Robert Hill calls on Syria and Iran to rein in Hezbollah

From The Australian, July 24, 2006 by David Nason, New York correspondent ...

AUSTRALIA has formally appealed to Syria and Iran to exercise their influence with Hezbollah to help end the violence in Lebanon.

In a special session of the UN Security Council, Australian ambassador Robert Hill also pleaded for Israel and Hezbollah to show restraint, while maintaining Jerusalem's right to self-defence.
Mr Hill said all parties to the conflict should commit to the safe evacuation of foreigners.

"We call on both sides to exercise restraint, to avoid civilian deaths, to avoid damage to civilian infrastructure and to refrain from acts which escalate an already dangerous situation," Mr Hill said. "Our priority must be to create conditions for a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire. This means the disarming of Hezbollah and control by the Government of Lebanon of the area between Beirut and the Israeli border. Those countries in the region with influence over Hezbollah -- Syria and Iran -- should exercise that influence to prevent continuation of acts of violence."

At the same time, Mr Hill condemned Syria and Iran for supporting "extremist groups that threaten the wider security of the Middle East" and said Hezbollah and Hamas were to blame for the current hostilities.

US President George W. Bush used his weekend radio address to urge the world to stand up to Hezbollah and its allies. Mr Bush said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would make it clear on her diplomatic mission to the Middle East this week that resolving the crisis demanded "confronting the terrorist group that launched the attacks and the nations that support it".
"For many years, Syria has been a primary sponsor of Hezbollah and it has helped provide Hezbollah with shipments of Iranian-made weapons," Mr Bush said.

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