[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 20 July 2006, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
In quotes: Annan on Mid-East crisis
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Mr Annan criticised Israel and Hezbollah
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel.

In a briefing to the UN Security Council in New York, Mr Annan also said it was "imperative" for safe corridors to be established in Lebanon so humanitarian aid could get through.

Here are some key quotes from Mr Annan's address to the Security Council.

ON THE CRISIS

What is most urgently needed is an immediate cessation of hostilities for three vital reasons. First, to prevent further loss of innocent life and the infliction of further suffering; second, to allow full humanitarian access to those in need; and third, to give diplomacy a chance to work out - a practical package of actions that would provide a lasting solution to the current crisis.

ON HEZBOLLAH'S ATTACKS

Hezbollah's provocative attack on 12 July was the trigger of this crisis. It is clear that the Lebanese government had no advance knowledge of this attack. Whatever other agendas they may serve, Hezbollah's actions, which it portrays as defending Palestinian and Lebanese interests, in fact do neither. On the contrary, they hold an entire nation hostage, set back prospects for negotiation of a comprehensive Middle East peace.

ON ISRAEL'S MILITARY ACTION

Israel states that it has no quarrel with the government or people of Lebanon, and that it is taking extreme precautions to avoid harm to them. Yet a number of its actions have hurt and killed Lebanese civilians and military personnel and caused great damage to infrastructure. While Hezbollah's actions are deplorable, and as I've said, Israel has a right to defend itself, the excessive use of force is to be condemned.

ON THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

On the humanitarian front, conditions continue to deteriorate. Israeli operations have made it impossible for UN agencies and their humanitarian partners to reach almost any part of southern Lebanon. Lack of access and in situ assessments make it difficult to determine the exact figures of people in need.

ON UN STAFF

We are not going to desert the people of Lebanon in their hour of need but we have to proceed with caution. As we come to their aid, our department of safety and security has been co-ordinating efforts to ensure the safety of staff in the affected areas from all parts of the UN system and their dependants.

ON GAZA

I am gravely concerned about Gaza. I call for an immediate cessation of indiscriminate and disproportionate violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a re-opening of closed crossing points, without which Gaza will continue to be sucked into a downwards spiral of suffering and chaos, and the region further inflamed.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch the full statement by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan





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

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific