[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 July 2006, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
UN call for Middle East ceasefire
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan is putting his weight behind a peacekeeping force
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called for urgent action from the international community to stop the violence between Israel and Lebanon.

He reiterated calls for a new international force to be deployed in the border region.

However, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said it was too early for such a force or for an Israeli ceasefire.

But a UN envoy, who held talks with Ms Livni in Israel, described them as "intensive" and "productive".

Mr Annan made his comments after talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels.

He said the proposed stabilisation force would need to be bigger and have a stronger mandate than the current UN force of 2,000 deployed in Lebanon's southern border region.

UN proposals

Mr Barroso said some European Union member states had said they would be willing to contribute troops to the force, which was proposed by Mr Annan and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday.

Terje Roed-Larsen, a senior UN negotiator, said the UN delegation visiting Jerusalem had put forward ideas for ways to end the violence during talks with Ms Livni.

Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni
Ms Livni said the seized soldiers must be released without conditions
He said the ideas were being considered by the Israeli and Lebanese governments.

After the talks Ms Livni called for the disarmament of Hezbollah, which she said threatened peace and security in the region.

She said that Iran and Syria must be stopped from arming Hezbollah in the future and called for the unconditional return of the captured Israeli soldiers.

More than 200 Lebanese citizens have been killed since Israel launched air strikes last Wednesday following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by militant group Hezbollah.

Twenty-four Israelis have died in the violence - 12 as a result of Hezbollah rocket attacks.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific