Tony Blair urges Israel and Hezbollah to show restraint and take balanced action
Israel and Hezbollah should show restraint and take balanced action in the current conflict, said British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
He emphasized that as a result of haphazard actions by both sides of the conflict, innocent people were dying in Lebanon and Israel.
Blair recalled that about a thousand rockets had been fired from Lebanese territory alone in the last few days. He pointed out that there are forces in the region which are trying to exploit the situation in Lebanon in order to destabilize the whole Middle East. They should stop this incitement because it spells disaster, Blair stressed.
He said he supported the idea of sending an international force into the conflict area: "The only way we're going to get a cessation of hostilities is if we have the deployment of an international force into that area..." the British Prime Minister said at a news conference in Strelna.
At the same time he noted that this force should not be exclusively British but should be made up of many nations. They can only act when hostilities stop.
He admitted that it takes time to organize such a force, but expressed the hope that the very intention to send it to the conflict area would help resolve the situation.
Blair recalled that a UN force is already deployed there, and added that the new contingent must be bigger in strength. He said he is not yet sure whether all the parties involved will reach agreement on this issue.
He thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin and all Russians for the excellent organization of the G8 summit. He said that everything had been perfect, and added that Russia had done a wonderful job both as the host of the summit and as G8 president.