Preliminary Cease-Fire Agreement for Lebanon Reached between US and France
AP is reporting that a cease-fire agreement has been worked out between France and the US.
The draft calls for a "full cessation of violence" between Israel and Hezbollah, but would allow Israel the right to launch strikes if Hezbollah attacks it.Lebanese government officials had swung into full gear in order to get a cease-fire as soon as possible.
"It does not say immediate cessation of violence," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the draft had not yet been made public.
That appeared to be a major victory for the U.S. and Israel. France and many other nations had demanded an immediate and halt to violence without conditions as a way to push the region back toward stability.
The full 15-nation Security Council was expected to meet later Saturday to discuss the resolution, and it was likely to be adopted in the next couple of days, Bolton said.
Bolton said the resolution would be the first of two. He said this one deals with the immediate issue of the fighting. The second would likely spell out a larger political framework for peace between Israel and Hezbollah.
"We're prepared to continue to work tomorrow in order to make progress on the adoption of the resolution but we have reached agreement and we're now ready to proceed," Bolton said. "We're prepared to move as quickly as other members of the council want to move."
Saad Hariri, the parliamentary majority leader, went to Russia to get support there. This is a sign of how isolated the US is becoming. Hariri's normal path has been between Washington and Saudi Arabia. But with the US pushing for more bombing of Lebanon in support of its ally, Israel, Hariri has been forced to find new allies in struggle to get the UN Security Council behind Lebanon. Hariri announced yesterday, "Above all I have come to Russia in order to solve the problem of achieving an immediate cease-fire."
MP Michel Aoun on Friday emphasized the need for a "unified Lebanese solution to the crisis" including a prisoner swap.
PM Siniora has a 7 point cease fire plan which more and more states are signing on to.
Siniora’s plan calls for an end to hostilities, for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, the return of displaced Lebanese to their homes and the strengthening of a U.N. force which has been operating in southern Lebanon for almost three decades.
It also calls for the deployment of the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon, which has been controlled by Hizbullah for years, and the disarming of group.
Arab Foreign Ministers will meet on Monday in Beirut 'to Express Solidarity with Lebanon. Arab League number two Ahmed Ben Helli said, "The meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Beirut is to express solidarity with Lebanon." The meeting is aimed to "support the overall seven-point plan" of Prime Minister Fouad Saniora. "Syria is invited to the meeting."
Arab countries have been divided on the stand to take since Israel launched its onslaught, with the more moderate regimes refusing to rally behind the Iran-backed Hizbullah despite vocal criticism of Israel's assault.
Iran: Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, in remarks published on Friday, accused Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki of "going over the limit" by criticizing his plan to end the war between Hizbullah and Israel.
During a visit to Lebanon last week, Mottaki expressed implicit reservations about Siniora's seven-point plan to bring peace to Lebanon, saying there was no rush to discuss questions beyond an immediate cease-fire.
Syria: Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said Syria backs Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora’s seven-point plan to end the conflict. Asad has declared that “Syria will exercise its influence on Hezbollah if circumstances change in Lebanon.” “The Syrians are going to exercise all their influence on Hezbollah, but the circumstances and political and military context of Lebanon must change,” Moratinos told reporters after after a meeting Thursday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The foreign ministers of Italy and Syria, Massimo D’Alema and Walid al-Muallem, on Friday agreed to call for an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s assault on Lebanon.
The main division on a draft U.N. Security Council resolution has been between France and the United States. Paris wants existing U.N. peacekeepers and Lebanon's army to monitor a truce, while Washington wants the Israeli army to stay in southern Lebanon until an international force arrives.