Blair pledges Lebanon military aid

Tony Blair, the British prime minister, has promised Lebanon help in building up its armed forces so that they can control the entire country.

    The British prime minister is on a visit to the Middle East

    At a joint press conference with Fuad Siniora, his Lebanese counterpart, Blair spoke of the Lebanese army's "crucial role" in the country.

    Blair said on Monday: "We will work with you in terms of training, in terms of equipment, in terms of any help that we can give and, as you know, I am committing further resources to that today."

    The British leader is in Lebanon as part of a visit to the Middle East.

    His stated aim is to bolster the ceasefire between Hezbollah and Israel and encourage Palestinians and Israelis to restart the moribund peace process.

    Blair visited Israel before arriving in Beirut.

    The press conference was briefly interrupted by a protestor waving a banner and shouting "Shame on you, shame on you." The woman was muscled out of the room by security guards.

    Reconstruction
      
    Siniora stressed the need to rebuild Lebanon following the 34-day war with Israel and to beef up the country's armed forces.
      
    But he insisted that solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict was paramount to bringing stability to the region.
      
    He told Blair there was a need to push for "a comprehensive, just and lasting peace ... to put an to the injustice and suffering of our region".

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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