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July 21, 2006/ Evacuees from Lebanon speak of relief
July 20, 2006/ US marines aid evacuation from Lebanon
July 19, 2006/ North Korea halts inter-Korean family reunions
July 18, 2006/ Lebanon evacuation gathers pace
July 17, 2006/ N. Korea denounced UN resolution against missile tests
July 14, 2006/ Israel hits Hezbollah leader's headquarters
July 13, 2006/ Israel pursues strikes on Lebanon
July 12, 2006/ Israel in fresh Lebanon strikes
July 10, 2006/ UN delays N Korea sanctions vote
July 07, 2006/ Nation remembers the victims of the London attacks
July 06, 2006/ US sends envoy to discuss N Korea
July 06, 2006/ North Korea vows more missile tests
July 05, 2006/ North korea fired seven missiles
July 03, 2006/ Gaza militants' deadline expires

BBC World News broadcasted in June 2006

July 24, 2006

Rice Condoleezza holds key talks in Lebanon  

 
Fouad Siniora and Condoleezza Rice
Ms Rice, with Mr Siniora, said she was "deeply concerned"

 
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has held talks with Lebanon's PM in Beirut at the start of a Middle East tour to discuss the regional crisis.

She met Fouad Siniora on an unannounced visit that her officials said was to show support for Lebanon's people.

Ms Rice praised Mr Siniora's "courage" but has also said there is no place for "terrorist groups" like Hezbollah to attack from Lebanese territory.

She has now arrived in Israel for talks with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

In the latest developments:

  • Israeli forces pushed north from the captured village of Maroun al-Ras in south Lebanon and fierce clashes were reported around Bint Jbeil. Ten Israeli soldiers were hurt in the border fighting and two Hezbollah guerrillas captured, Israel said
    Israeli troops push into Lebanon as their offensive continues

     

     

  • An Israeli helicopter has crashed in northern Israel, killing two pilots. An army spokeswoman blamed technical problems, but Hezbollah reportedly claimed it had been shot down

     

  • The UN launched an appeal for $150m (£81m) to help hundreds of thousands of displaced Lebanese civilians.

     

  • US President George W Bush has ordered ships and helicopters to supply a "significant" amount of humanitarian aid to Lebanon from Tuesday, the White House said.

At least 372 Lebanese, the great majority civilians, have been killed during the conflict, which is now into its 13th day. Thirty-seven Israelis have been killed, about half of them civilians.

The Israeli offensive began after Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on 12 July.

No return

Ms Rice arrived in Beirut from Cyprus on a heavily armed military helicopter and went straight into talks with Mr Siniora.

Israel is acting with tremendous restraint, were they targeting civilian populations there would be thousands upon thousands dead
 
Steve Gross, US

 

"Thank you for your courage and your steadfastness," she told him, before the closed-door meeting. Afterwards she said she was "deeply concerned about the Lebanese people and what they are enduring".

She then met Shia parliament speaker Nabih Berri, who is said to have lines of communication with Syria and Hezbollah.

According to Lebanese government sources, Ms Rice made the release of the two Israeli soldiers and the withdrawal of Hezbollah forces from the border the pre-conditions for any ceasefire.

In Washington, White House spokesman Tony Snow said an immediate ceasefire was "unenforceable".

However in London, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said what was happening in Lebanon was "a catastrophe" and that he hoped a plan for a ceasefire could be spelled out "in the next few days".

map

 

Mr Blair said a ceasefire plan would need the agreement of both sides to end hostilities, the return of the two Israeli soldiers and "some form of international force in the south in Lebanon".

For his part, Mr Olmert has said in a policy shift that Israel will be prepared to accept a European peacekeeping force providing it is robust and has a strong mandate.

In Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said several European countries were willing to contribute to such a force, which he said could be deployed under the umbrella of the UN Security Council.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Monday it was important that talks in Rome on Wednesday of Western and Middle Eastern ministerial powers succeeded.

He said it was vital that "we do not walk away empty-handed and dash the hopes of those caught in the conflict".

The BBC's Kim Ghattas, in Beirut, says Lebanon has felt let down by the international community because there has been no call for an unconditional ceasefire.

However, Mr Siniora has also said there will be no return to the status quo that existed before the violence started. And he insisted the Lebanese government was trying to extend its authority over the whole of the country.

An estimated 600,000 Lebanese have now been forced out of their homes.

Despite the diplomatic moves, Israeli Brig Gen Alon Friedman told Israel Army Radio the ground operation would probably go on for another 10 days.


Today's BBC News
 

21 July 2006
 
Man in Beirut suburbs
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice holds crisis talks with Lebanon's PM on an unannounced Beirut trip.
Conflict in pictures
 

 
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki suggests Iraqi troops will soon take control over more areas of the country.
Efforts to unblock the Doha round of trade talks collapse, with farm subsidies remaining the key stumbling point.

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