Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PM Refuses Call for Ceasefire

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PM Refuses Call for Ceasefire

Article excerpt

Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday said the events in Lebanon were "tragic and terrible" but declined to call for an immediate ceasefire.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, he said: "If it is to stop, it has to stop by undoing how it started, and it started with the kidnap of Israeli soldiers and the bombardment of northern Israel, and if we want this to stop, that has to stop."

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell urged him to condemn Israel's "disproportionate" military response.

Mr Blair replied: "Of course it is important that the response of Israel is proportionate and it does its best to minimise civilian casualties.

"But I have to say this would stop now if the soldiers that were kidnapped wrongly, when Hezbollah crossed the United Nations blue line, were released.

"It would stop now if the rockets stopped coming into Haifa. If those two things happened I would be the first person out there telling Israel to stop these things. …

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