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US Pushes for UN Resolution to End Israel-Hezbollah Fighting


Hezbollah fired another barrage of rockets into northern Israel Monday. Israeli warplanes struck the major Lebanese cities of Beirut and Tyre. Israel says its army is ready for a major war, if negotiations fail to end the current fighting. U.S. President George W. Bush says the U.S. and its allies are working quickly on two United Nations resolutions for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah and the establishment of a peacekeeping force.

President Bush says the U.S. and its allies are pressing for a comprehensive solution that will provide a lasting peace. He says he anticipates that Israel and Hezbollah will not agree with all aspects of any ceasefire resolution, but the violence must stop.

"These two resolutions are designed to bring an immediate end to the fighting, to help restore sovereignty over Lebanese soil to Lebanese democratic government -- to Lebanon's democratic government, excuse me -- to strike a blow against the terrorists and their supporters, and to help bring lasting peace to the region."

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora met with Arab League foreign ministers in Beirut to discuss the U.N. draft resolution written by the U.S. and France. They want it to call for Israeli troops to withdraw once the fighting stops and hand over their positions to U.N. peacekeepers. Mr. Siniora says a delegation will be sent to the U.N. to push for amendments to the plan.

President Bush says any agreement must deal with the root cause of the violence -- Hezbollah -- which he says is acting as a state within a state.

Iran and Syria are the major backers of Hezbollah. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki describes the U.S.-France draft resolution as a new offensive against Lebanon.

Mr. Bush blames the two countries for agitating the conflict, saying U.S. diplomats have communicated with the Damascas government. "Syria knows what we think. The problem isn't us telling Syria what's on our minds, which is to stop harboring terror and to, you know, help the Iraqi democracy evolve. They know exactly what our position is. The problem is that their response hasn't been very positive. As a matter of fact, it hasn't been positive at all."

Relief agencies say it is too dangerous for them to try to deliver aid to villages in southern Lebanon where they are concerned about people cut off by the fighting.

David Shearer, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon, says the situation is growing worse. "The situation in the country is deteriorating rapidly. Since the beginning of the war, there have been virtually no supplies being brought into Lebanon with the exception of some relief supplies."

But further north in Sidon, the aid group Mercy Corps distributed boxes of aid.

Spokesperson Cassandra Nelson says there’s enough for about a thousand families. "We're delivering food items, we're delivering about 14,000 cans of either corn, beef, chickpeas, farver beans, high protein items, as well as food kits that have everything from rice, sugar, tea and other items -- about enough for a thousand families."

It is estimated that one in four people in Lebanon have been displaced. Many have lost their homes.

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