SYRIA AND IRAN BLAMED FOR CRISIS IN LEBANON; Democracy Is Target, Says PM

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Byline: By Jon Smith

PRIME Minister Tony Blair has pointed the finger at Iran and Syria over the latest Middle East crisis.

He said the two countries were determined to see democracy fail in the region.

His comments came as G8 leaders yesterday demanded an end to the fighting.

French president Jacques Chirac said: "The entire G8 has called for a ceasefire in Gaza and Lebanon."

After talks with US president George Bush before this week's G8 summit in Russia, Blair said: "Sometimes there's been a hesitation in putting the real truth of the situation up there.

"The fact is there are people in that region, notably Iran and Syria, who do not want this process of democratisation and peace and negotiation to succeed.

"We all want the situation to calm down because we urgently have to act to protect Lebanese democracy and to re-engage people in the negotiating process."

Israel began a bombing blitz on Lebanon after two of their soldiers were kidnapped by militant group Hezbollah - who are based in the south of the country.

Blair's spokesman later defended the PM's comments, saying: "The problem is not one that's come out of nowhere. …