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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 August 2006, 18:35 GMT 19:35 UK
Beckett to seek resolution in US
Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett
"The people of Lebanon and Israel are suffering," said Mrs Beckett
Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett is cutting short her holiday to try to ensure a UN resolution is agreed in New York over the Middle East conflict.

"The situation is urgent and we need now to complete the task," she said.

The timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon is in dispute. France believes troops should pull out when Lebanese soldiers take over.

However, the US backs Israel's view that its army should remain until an international force can be deployed.

"The people of Lebanon and Israel are suffering," Mrs Beckett said, before flying to the US.

"I am very concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in the area.

"We need to ensure that we make urgent progress in establishing safe corridors to move people and resources safely to where they are most needed in southern Lebanon."

Tony Blair has also been continuing his efforts to find a solution, according to a Downing Street spokesman.

He said the prime minister, currently on holiday in the Caribbean, had had a "productive" telephone conversation with French President Jacques Chirac.

"They talked in detail about the issues, and the need to get a rapid agreement," the spokesman added.

'Disgrace'

Earlier on Thursday, the top humanitarian official at the UN said it was a "disgrace" that Israel and Hezbollah were denying aid agencies access to southern Lebanon.

Jan Egeland claimed it had been "many days" since relief workers had been allowed into an area in which hospitals were also running out of food and fuel.

The UN's World Food Programme has also demanded the two sides let through humanitarian aid.

More than 1,000 Lebanese, most of them civilians, have now died during a month of hostilities, according to the Lebanese government.

About 121 Israelis, most of them soldiers, have also been killed.




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