Middle East

Annan Pleads for Cease-Fire on Lebanon Border

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U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan makes an impassioned appeal for a cease-fire in the Middle East, warning of a humanitarian crisis in Lebanon. Annan is meeting this evening with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is preparing for a trip to the region to help resolve the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

U.S. officials say Rice is looking for a durable solution to the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Washington has resisted calling for a cease-fire, to give Israel the time and leeway it says it needs to degrade the military capabilities of Hezbollah.

Analysts call the idea risky, given the Israeli strikes on Lebanese infrastructure and the potential for a dramatic increase in civilian casualties.

But Washington, citing a need to move past the status quo, says it wants countries in the region to use their influence with Syria and Iran which, U.S. officials allege, are behind the latest crisis.



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