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U.N. Security Council Calls for End to Middle East Violence

Aired July 30, 2006 - 20:28   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, I'm Carol Lin with a new development out of the United Nations. We're going to go to our United Nations senior correspondent Richard Roth on the scene right now. Richard?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN U.N. SR. CORRESPONDENT: Carol, the U.N. Security Council is poised to adopt a statement to be read by the president of the Security Council, the ambassador from France about what happened in Qana. The -- here we go, let's listen.

JEAN MARC DE LA SABLIERE, FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO U.N. (through translator): Unless I hear any objection, I shall consider the agenda adopted. The agenda's adopted. In the decision taking at the 5498th meeting held earlier today, I acknowledged the presence of the representatives of Israel and Lebanon at the council table in accordance with rule 37 of the council's provision of rules of procedure.

The Security Council will now resume its consideration of item two of the agenda. The Security Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations. After consultations among members of the Security Council, I have been authorized to make the following statement on behalf of the council, I quote.

"The Security Council expresses its -- at the shelling by the Israeli Defense Forces of a residential building in Qana, killing dozens of civilians, mostly children, and injured many others. The Security Council sends its deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the Lebanese people.

The Security Council strongly deplores this loss of innocent lives and the killing of civilians in the present conflict and requires the secretary-general to report to it within one week on the circumstances of this tragic incident.

The Security Council expresses its concern at the threat of escalation of violence with further grave consequences for the humanitarian situation, calls for an end to violence and underscores the urgency of securing a lasting, permanent, and sustainable cease- fire.

The Security Council expresses again its utmost concern at the Lebanese and Israeli civilian casualties and human suffering, the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure and the increased number of internally displaced persons.

The Security Council urges all parties to grant immediate and unlimited access to humanitarian assistance. The Security Council deplores any action against United Nations personnel and calls for full respect for the safety and security of all United Nations personnel and premises.

The Security Council affirms its determination to work without any further delay to adopt a resolution for a lasting settlement of the crisis, drawing on diplomatic efforts underway. The Security Council remains seized of the matter."

End of quote. This statement will be issued at a document of the Security Council under the symbol PRST/2006/35. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda. The meeting is adjourned.

ROTH: That's the French ambassador for the U.N. Security Council, that's the president of the Security Council. What's important to note in that there was no call, an immediate demand for cease-fire or cessation of hostilities.

The final wording was the Security Council calls for an end to violence. The United States clearly blocking any tougher language. Qatar, the sole Arab representative on the 15-nation council was interested in harsher language. The resolution that the French ambassador talks about is something that it may be days away. First they need to have some type of peace between the participants -- Carol.

LIN: Richard, so if this sort of statement doesn't really have any teeth, what is its purpose then?

ROTH: Well, it is getting there. It's the first reaction by the Security Council to some of the hostilities even though the council the other day said that it was critical of Israel for its attack on that U.N. base. But the council is still divided.

Now, whether there's a tipping point and whether something happens, I don't know, but this is significant for the Security Council, but they're still not there. They didn't give Kofi Annan what he wanted. He said he was dismayed that the full council was not able to issue a demand for the immediate cessation of hostilities.

LIN: Richard Roth, our senior correspondent at the United Nations, thank you very much. I'm Carol Lin at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. We're going to have continuing coverage of the Middle East crisis including John Roberts joining me at 10:00 in our prime-time newscast. John Roberts also hosting CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE." In the meantime, we are going to continue with our programming here on CNN. More news as it happens.


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