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UK and US must back immediate Middle East ceasefire say Liberal Democrats

August 1, 2006 6:07 PM

The Liberal Democrats have re-iterated their calls for a ceasefire in the Middle East. Israel has continued carrying out air strikes in southern Lebanon after previously promising a 48 hour halt to attacks. Palestinian doctors in Gaza say several people have been hurt in fresh Israeli air strikes there, that took place as Israel's Lebanon offensive continues. Israel says it attacked buildings used by militants from Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza City and the northern town of Beit Hanoun.

Michael Moore, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary said "The US and the UK governments are out of line with UN and world opinion. Having secured, however grudgingly, a halt to air strikes this must now be respected by Israel to avoid another tragedy such as Qana. For their part, the governments in the Middle East, including Syria and Iran, must press for a Hezbollah ceasefire and the return of the Israeli soldiers. We need an immediate ceasefire as a first step towards securing a sustainable peace in the area."

It has also emerged today that Downing Street rebuffed Foreign Office calls for Tony Blair to press the case for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East according to reports. A ministerial source says FCO officials had wanted Tony Blair to use his US trip to press the ceasefire case.