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France unveils ideas for Lebanon ceasefire

india Updated: Jul 19, 2006 09:36 IST

France late on Tuesday said it put forward ideas that could form the basis of a Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

"As a member of both the G8 and the Security Council, France wished to present to the other members of the Council elements that could lead to a concrete reflection of the Council," French Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere said in a statement.

The ideas include a call for 'a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire' and an appeal to all parties "to exercise utmost restraint, in particular to avoid additional casualties among innocent civilians and damage to civilian infrastructure."

They also include a "condemnation of extremist forces that seek to destabilize the region" and stress the need to address the underlying causes of the crisis.

The French text would call for the release of the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah militants and implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions.

It specifically underscores the need for full implementation of resolution 1559, adopted in 2004, which calls for the disarming and disbanding of all militias, including Hezbollah, and for the Lebanese government to assert its authority over all its territory.

De La Sabliere, the Council president for July, said the French ideas were largely inspired by a communique issued by world powers at the Group of Eight summit in Russia at the weekend.

He suggested that they be examined in the coming days in light of a briefing UN chief Kofi Annan is scheduled to give to the Council on Thursday on the UN mediation team trying to defuse the Lebanese crisis.

Annan is to brief the Council on the mission by a UN team led by special political adviser Vijay Nambiar, which is to return from the Middle East on Wednesday after holding separate talks with Lebanese and Israeli leaders.

"France continues to believe that, at the appropriate moment, the Council should adopt a substantial resolution for a sustainable solution to the crisis," the French envoy's statement said.

De La Sabliere earlier said the UN secretary general would also detail before the council a proposal for an international stabilization force for Lebanon, where Israel is pressing a week-old offensive against Hezbollah militants.

The Israeli air attacks have claimed at least 245 lives and displaced half a million people in Lebanon while rockets fired by Hezbollah militants have killed 25 people in Israel.

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