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Bush, Blair: Multinational Force, Long-term Solution Needed in Mideast


President Bush says he and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have agreed that a multinational force should be deployed in Lebanon.

Speaking Friday in Washington, the leaders said the force would help restore order in southern Lebanon and ensure delivery of humanitarian aid to those affected by fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas.

Both leaders have resisted international pressure to call for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah militants, instead focusing on the long-term causes of violence in the region.

Mr. Bush said he is sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice back to the region to help resolve the conflict. He said Rice will work with both Israel and Lebanon to come up with an acceptable U.N. Security Council resolution for the group to discuss when it meets next week.

Mr. Bush said the Security Council will discuss the possibility of deploying a stabilization force to Lebanon.

On Thursday, the Council expressed shock and distress at Israel's bombing of a U.N. post that killed four military observers in southern Lebanon earlier this week.

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