Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DOWN TO EARTH

Was 2017 the worst year for the environment?

Read more

ENCORE!

Rhiannon Giddens strikes out on her 'Freedom Highway'

Read more

#THE 51%

Not such a feminist paradise: Iceland struggles to deal with violence towards women

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Climate change: Half of Mexico's coffee plantations have disappeared

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

The legendary Swallow Line train in France's Jura region

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Japanese FM against 'dialogue for the sake of dialogue' with Pyongyang

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive video: South Sudan, a cursed land

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Ex-minister Tzipi Livni calls for freeze on Israeli settlements

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Net neutrality fight in US moves to courts, Congress

Read more

Middle east

Kouchner calls for Israel's neighbours to ease tensions

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-05-23

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (pictured) visited both Damascus and Beirut Sunday, to put pressure on the two countries to continue improving their relationship with neighbouring Israel, and respect a 2006 ceasefire in Lebanon.

AFP - French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner called in Damascus and Beirut on Sunday for an easing of tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbours, urging all sides to respect a 2006 ceasefire in Lebanon.

"We cannot be resigned to a constant state of tension, even if it is decreasing," Kouchner told journalists after a meeting in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

He renewed an appeal for all sides to respect UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which ended a devastating month-long war in 2006 between Israel and Lebanon's Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

The resolution bans the delivery of arms to the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah.

In Damascus, Kouchner expressed France's concern over Hezbollah's weaponry, to which Assad gave assurances it was not in the interests of Damascus, Tehran or Hezbollah to trigger a new conflict, a French diplomatic source said.

The source, asking not to be named, said that France as a peace broker also wanted to encourage Syria to ease tensions in the region and not to facilitate the delivery of arms to Hezbollah.

After Damascus, the foreign minister travelled on to Beirut from where he was to head for Egypt to wind up his regional tour in Cairo.

Israeli President Shimon Peres sparked controversy last month when he accused Syria of supplying Hezbollah with Scud missiles, a charge Damascus has staunchly rejected.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates made similar allegations at the end of April, saying Syria and Iran were providing Hezbollah with rockets and missiles of ever-increasing capability.

Date created : 2010-05-23

  • SYRIA

    US warns Syria after suspected missile transfer to Hezbollah

    Read more

  • PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

    Rival factions Fatah and Hamas demonstrate together against Israel

    Read more

COMMENT(S)