UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday urged for immediate "cessation of hostilities" in Lebanon, condemned Hizbollah militants actions and Israel's "excessive use of force" while asserting that there were "serious obstacles to reaching a ceasefire."
He also outlined a plan to end fighting in Lebanon, including early release of two captured Israeli soldiers and deployment of peacekeeping forces on Lebanon-Israel border.
The plan also involves calling an international conference tasked with ensuring full implementation of UN resolutions demanding the disbanding and disarming of all militias, including Hezbollah in Lebanon.
"While Hezbollah's actions are deplorable and Israel has a right to defend itself, the excessive use of force is to be condemned," he told the Security Council.
"Despite our assessment that a full ceasefire remains difficult to achieve at this time, I remain of the view that the international community must make its position clear on the need for an immediate ceasefire of hostilities and a greater credible effort by Israel to protect civilians while conditions for such a cessation are urgently developed," he said in his first assessment of the situation since Israeli military action in Lebanon.
Giving elements for resolution of crisis on which the UN is working, Annan said the captured Israeli soldiers, which triggered the conflict, must be transferred to the Lebanese government with a view to repatriation to Israel under the auspices of the Red Cross.