Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Malaysian prime minister and the current chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), said on Tuesday that the situation threatened international peace and security.
  
"The United Nations Security Council should take action to call for an immediate ceasefire, deploy a United Nations peace-keeping force to implement the ceasefire and prevent an invasion of Lebanon," Abdullah said as he opened the bloc's annual meeting of foreign ministers in Kuala Lumpur.
  
"We should not tolerate Israel's excessive military reprisals against Lebanon.
  
"The collective punishment inflicted upon the Lebanese people and the destruction of towns and cities are unconscionable.
  
"The military incursions into Lebanese territory are [in] blatant disregard for Lebanon's sovereignty."

Peace in tatters
  
Abdullah said the violence had left the Middle East peace process "in tatters" and urged other countries to press for peaceful negotiations.
  

"We should not tolerate Israel's excessive military reprisals against Lebanon"

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Malaysian prime minister

Asean countries should "make our voices heard loudly and clearly" about the plight of the Palestinian people, he said.
  
The Southeast Asian group's 10 members include the world's most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia, and mainly Muslim Malaysia.
 
Asean foreign ministers issued a statement late on Monday condemning the attacks, which have killed hundreds of people.

The statement criticised Israel for its "disproportionate, indiscriminate and excessive use of force", saying such actions would threaten efforts to revive peace talks with the Palestinians.
  
The ministers urged all parties to "exercise utmost restraint" and prevent further civilian casualties, along with damage to  infrastructure and civilian property.