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Rice not welcome to Beirut before ceasefire

An Israeli air strike killed at least 54 Lebanese civilians, including 37 children, on Sunday.
None | By Reuters, Israel
PUBLISHED ON JUL 30, 2006 06:45 PM IST

An Israeli air strike killed at least 54 Lebanese civilians, including 37 children, on Sunday, prompting the Lebanese government to tell US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice she was unwelcome in Beirut before a ceasefire.

The following are some comments on the latest developments in the 19-day-old Israel-Hizbollah conflict:

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora:

"There is no place on this sad morning for any discussion other than an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as well as an international investigation into the Israeli massacres in Lebanon. The persistence of Israel in its heinous crimes against our civilians will not break the will of the Lebanese people."

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:

"All the residents (of Qana) were warned and told to leave. No one was ordered to fire on civilians and we have no policy of killing innocent people," Olmert was quoted as saying by Ynet  and NRG Websites. "The village and its surrounding areas were a source for launching hundreds of rockets."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:

"I think it is time to get to a ceasefire. We actually have to try and put one in place. We have to try and do our work well so that there will not be more and more incidents over many, many more years."

Jordan's King Abdullah:

"This criminal aggression is an ugly crime that has been committed by the Israeli forces in the city of Qana. It is a gross violation of all international statutes."

French President Jacques Chirac:

"France condemns this unjustified action which demonstrates more than ever the need for an immediate ceasefire without which there will only be other such incidents."

Hizbollah statement:

"This horrific massacre (at Qana) will not go without a response."

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett:

"It's absolutely dreadful, it's quite appalling. Undoubtedly Sunday's events will make things worse at least in the short term. We have repeatedly urged Israel to act proportionately."

EU Foreign Policy Chief  Javier Solana:

"I have talked to the Prime Minister of Lebanon. I have expressed to him my profound dismay and deep sorrow at the attack and the death of innocent civilians in Qana. Nothing can justify that."

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak:

"The Arab Republic of Egypt expresses its profound alarm and its condemnation of the irresponsible Israeli bombing of the Lebanese village of Qana, which resulted in innocent casualties, mostly women and children."

Arab League Secretary-General Amir Moussa:

"The attacks that Israeli forces are launching on civilians and the Lebanese infrastructure are another confirmation of the Israeli aggressive intentions."

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad:

"The massacre committed by Israel in Qana this morning shows the barbarity of this aggressive entity. It constitutes state terrorism committed in front of the eyes and ears of the world."

Senior Hamas lawmaker Mushir Al-Masri:

"In the face of this open war against the Arab and Muslim nations all options are open, including striking the depth of the Zionist entity."

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi:

"The Qana bombing is the outcome of US Secretary State Condoleezza Rice's trip to the region. Some American officials should be put on trial for the crimes in Lebanon."

Pope Benedict:

"In the name of God, I call on all those responsible for this spiral of violence so that weapons are immediately laid down on all sides."

International crisis group analyst Nicholas Pelham:

"Major Israeli assaults on Lebanon have ended following a major killing of civilians. The bombing makes the pressure for an immediate ceasefire that much greater. But an immediate ceasefire would make it more difficult to negotiate the entry of international forces because the pressure will be on Israel rather than Hizbollah."

Ely Karmon, analyst, Israel's Interdisciplinary Centre:

"The last attack in Qana affected the fighting in 1996. We saw what it caused. We will reach the same situation if there is an immediate ceasefire. Hizbollah will declare victory and rearm and reorganise. The ceasefire will last a week. But I don't believe Israel will agree to stop the fighting."

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