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Bush Stresses Need for Lasting Peace in Mideast

  • VOA News

President Bush has again called for a lasting, sustainable cease-fire in the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Mr. Bush said during a visit to Miami, Florida on Monday that Iran and Syria must end their support for terror groups, such as Hezbollah.

The president continues to resist growing international calls for an immediate cease-fire, and avoided criticizing Israel.

In an interview with Fox News, President Bush also said the U.S. would "probably not" contribute troops to a U.N. force in Lebanon.

He said Sunday's Israeli airstrike that killed nearly 60 Lebanese civilians in Qana was "awful." But he said it is also "awful" that a million Israelis are worried about rockets being fired into their country by Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Earlier today in Jerusalem, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she believes a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah can be reached this week. Rice said she will call for a UN resolution this week on the ceasefire and establishment of an international stabilization force for Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has begun a visit to Lebanon to meet with top officials.

Also today, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon by one month to allow more time for talks on establishing a new international force for the country.

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