Blair, Annan Call for Troops in Israel*
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER , 07.17.2006, 03:12 AM
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called Monday for the deployment of international forces to stop the bombardment of Israel.
"The blunt reality is that this violence is not going to stop unless we create the conditions for the cessation of violence," Blair said after talks with Annan on the margins of the Group of Eight summit. "The only way is if we have a deployment of international forces that can stop bombardment coming into Israel."
Annan appealed to Israel to abide by international law, spare civilian lives and infrastructure.
Here's the initial White House reaction:
U.S. officials hesitated to embrace the UN effort ahead of a Security Council meeting that Annan said may happen later this week. Sending in an armed force ``may be a tad premature, although it is a distinct possibility,'' said White House spokesman Tony Snow.
More information on the process involved:
Annan said he had a team in Lebanon drawing up suggestions for how such a force might be deployed. That team will report back to the Security Council later this week.
``Several countries here are key members of the Security Council,'' Annan said. ``I expect them to work with us. We are extremely concerned about this situation. We need to find ways of bringing this to a halt. I appeal to all parties to spare civilian life and civilian infrastructure.''
Israeli media reports a 'massive' shelling campaign against southern Lebanon on Monday morning.
*Note: ABC News reports that the troops are to be deployed in Lebanon, not Israel, contrary to that AP headline.
United Nations Security Council members will on Monday start hammering out a detailed agreement on deploying a multilateral security force to Lebanon, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said.