Friday, July 28, 2006
Tony Blair comes to Washington to pressure Bush to support an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon
British prime Minister Tony Blair came to Washington today to confer with President Bush and to lobby for a ceasefire in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah.
Of course, that would leave Hezbollah armed, victorious and in place with rockets capable of hitting Israel...but that is hardly Blair's concern at this point. He's under severe pressure at home for siding with Bush and Israel against Hezbollah, however tepidly. Almost all the other EU countries and the UN have been pushing for an immediate ceasefire.
They talked and then appeared for the usual press conference.
President Bush announced that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will return to the Middle East tommorow for additional attempts at diplomacy.
"Her instructions are to work with Israel and Lebanon to come up with an acceptable U.N. Security Council resolution that we can table next week," he said.
Blair said he and Bush agreed a U.N. resolution is needed as soon as possible to stop hostilities in Lebanon.
Blair said it was important not only to get a cessation of violence but to use the opportunity to set out and achieve a "different strategic direction for the whole of that region."
"We've got to deal with the immediate situation" but also realize that the violence in recent weeks is part of a bigger picture that must be addressed, said Blair.
They also agreed on the idea that an international force for southern Lebanon should be sent quickly in order to help facilitate shipments of humanitarian aid.
"We agree that a multinational force must be dispatched to Lebanon quickly to augment the Lebanese army as it moves the south of that country. An effective multinational force will help speed delivery of humanitarian relief," Bush said.
Ahhh, the UN and a `multinational force'. That worked so well in the past.
I can hear Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad laughing and high-fiving each other from here.