Bush Welcomes U.N. Cease-Fire Resolution

Published August 12, 2006

| Associated Press

President Bush on Saturday urged world leaders to turn the words of a U.N. cease-fire resolution into action and help bring lasting peace to the Middle East.

Bush welcomed the resolution unanimously approved Friday night by the United Nations Security Council that seeks a "full cessation" of the violence between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. More than 800 people have been killed in a month of fighting.

"The loss of innocent life in both Lebanon and Israel has been a great tragedy," Bush said. "Hezbollah and its Iranian and Syrian sponsors have brought an unwanted war to the people of Lebanon and Israel, and millions have suffered as a result. I now urge the international community to turn words into action and make every effort to bring lasting peace to the region."

Bush's remarks came in a written statement issued while he was on a bike ride on his Texas ranch, where he is wrapping up a 10-day vacation from the White House. The president was returning to Washington Sunday.

The U.S. has been Israel's most supportive ally in the conflict and strongest advocate at the United Nations. Bush laid blame on Israel's enemies in the first sentence of his statement, saying the resolution was "designed to bring an immediate end to the fighting sparked last month by an unprovoked terrorist attack on Israel by Hezbollah, a terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria."

"The United States and its allies have been working hard since the beginning of this conflict to create the conditions for an enduring cease-fire and prevent armed militias and foreign-sponsored terrorist groups like Hezbollah from sparking another crisis," Bush said. "Yesterday's resolution aims to end Hezbollah's attacks on Israel and bring a halt to Israel's offensive military operations."

The resolution authorizes 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers to help Lebanese troops take control of south Lebanon, where Hezbollah guerillas have been operating, as Israeli forces that have occupied the area withdraw. It also calls for an embargo on the supply of arms to militias in Lebanon.

"These steps are designed to stop Hezbollah from acting as a state within a state, and put an end to Iran and Syria's efforts to hold the Lebanese people hostage to their own extremist agenda," Bush said. "This in turn will help to restore the sovereignty of Lebanon's democratic government and help ensure security for the people of Lebanon and Israel."

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