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EU Calls for 'Immediate End to Hostilities' in Mideast


The European Union has called for an "immediate end to hostilities" followed by a "sustainable cease-fire" between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Foreign ministers approved the statement Tuesday at a meeting in Brussels, after Britain and Germany objected to a draft calling for an immediate cease-fire.

The statement did not explain the difference between "an immediate end to hostilities" and an "immediate cease-fire."

Earlier Tuesday, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said Israel's decision to intensify the offensive against Hezbollah will only increase support for the militant group. Finland is the current president of the 25-member European Union.

Also Tuesday, Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, during a visit to Beirut, criticized the United Nations Security Council for its failure to stop the fighting.

Mottaki also met Monday with French counterpart, Philippe Douste-Blazy, at the Iranian embassy in Beirut. Neither official made any comments after the talks.

On Monday, President Bush again called for a lasting, sustainable cease-fire in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas. He said Iran and Syria must end their support for terror groups such as Hezbollah. The United States has refused to call for an immediate cease-fire.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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