British FM calls for Iran, Syria to stop supporting Hezbollah

LONDON, July 25, 2006 (AFP) – British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett called Tuesday for Syria and Iran to stop supporting the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon as a key part of efforts to end the current conflict.

"We call on Syria and Iran to stop their support for Hezbollah and end their interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs," in line with UN resolutions, Beckett said during questions in the House of Commons.

Israel launched massive retaliation at targets across Lebanon after the Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers on July 14.

Beckett also said the international community "needs to turn its attention not only at the implementation of resolution 1559 in particular, but also to what can be done to support and strengthen the democratically elected government of Lebanon."

UN Security Council resolution 1559, adopted in 2004, calls for the disarming and disbanding of all militias, including Hezbollah, and for the Lebanese government to assert its authority over all its territory.

The British government, which has been criticized for failing to join international calls for an immediate ceasefire, insists a workable plan is needed before a truce can be established.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said Monday that the plan would include a ceasefire by Israel and Hezbollah, a release of kidnapped Israeli soldiers and an international force deployed in southern Lebanon along the border with Israel.