Choking with emotion as he described his people’s suffering during 27 days of conflict, the Lebanese prime minister told Arab foreign ministers at an emergency meeting in Beirut on Monday that he remained committed to a seven-point peace plan endorsed by his cabinet.
“We need a quick and decisive ceasefire,” he told the meeting.
“It is imperative that the Israeli enemy stops its aggressive actions and withdraw immediately … hand it [territory] over to international forces, exchange prisoners, and reveal land mine maps.”
The plan calls for an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, the return of displaced Lebanese to their homes, and the deployment of UN and Lebanese forces in the south, along with the disarmament of Hezbollah.
The foreign ministers flew into Beirut on special flights from Jordan, Syria and Egypt as the fighting raged between Israel and Hezbollah.
Widows and children
Siniora urged Arab countries to help bring an end to the war which he said had killed about 1,000 and displaced more than a million people.
The war has left more than 1,000
“The confidence I’m speaking to you with is based on the sorrows of widowed mothers, dead children and the cries of the displaced all the lessons of this setback that has set our country and your country Lebanon decades to the past,” Siniora said, his eyes filling with tears.
The foreign ministers gave Siniora a standing ovation after his speech.
Opposition from Lebanon caused the United States and France to delay a vote on a UN resolution. They may submit a revised text after Security Council consultations later in the day.
Lebanon’s government has demanded that the US-French draft UN resolution include a call for an immediate withdrawal of some 10,000 Israeli troops from its soil.