LEBANON SEEKS WORLD HELP TO END CONFLICT
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer Fri Jul 14, 8:01 PM ET
UNITED NATIONS - Lebanon accused Israel on Friday of launching "a widespread barbaric aggression" aimed at bringing
the small Mideast nation to its knees and urged the international community to end the military
At an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting requested by Lebanon,
special envoy Nouhad Mahmoud warned that Israel's
destruction of vital bridges, roads and buildings and the killing and maiming of hundreds of Lebanese civilians "will not
resolve the problem, but will further complicate it."
"The Security Council meets
today in the shadow of a widespread barbaric aggression waged by Israel
to this very moment against my nation," he said. "What Israel is undertaking
is an act of aggression and devastation aimed at bringing Lebanon
to its knees and subverting it by any means."
Mahmoud urged the Security
Council to establish a cease-fire and to end the air and sea blockade of Lebanon
imposed by Israel.
The Israeli offensive was
sparked by Wednesday's kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah guerrillas who crossed the Blue Line between Israel
and Lebanon, which is not an official border but was drawn by the United
Nations to mark Israel's withdrawal in May 2000. Hezbollah operates with near autonomy in south Lebanon, and the government has resisted international pressure
to disarm it — a step that could break the country apart.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has sent a U.N. team to the region.
Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman
told the Security Council that Israel had no choice but to react to the
"absolutely unprovoked attack" by Hezbollah, which included rocket attacks into Israel.
actions were in response to an act of war from Lebanon,"
he said, stressing that it was concentrated mainly on Hezbollah strongholds.
But many Security Council
ambassadors who spoke afterward accused Israel
of using excessive force — destroying critical civilian infrastructure and killing and injuring innocent civilians.
Gillerman blamed the Lebanese
government for failing to respond to numerous Security Council resolutions demanding that it disarm Hezbollah and take control
of southern Lebanon. He told the council
that many Lebanese know Israel is doing the right thing in attacking Hezbollah,
and if it succeeds generations to come will live in a "free, democratic Lebanon."
"The real occupying power
in Lebanon is terror — terror instigated by Hezbollah but funded by Iran and Syria," he said.
Mahmoud, a special envoy
sent from Beirut, said Israel's
disregard of the Lebanese government's willingness to negotiate to resolve the situation "is clear evidence of the escalatory
intentions of the Israelis and their determination to kill and destroy."
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton
said the United States is "very concerned about the fragile democracy in
Lebanon," which is pro-Western.
He called on Hezbollah to
disarm and disband immediately and urged the Lebanese government to exercise "sole and exclusive control over all Lebanese