02 August 2006

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Business Today

EU fails to agree on immediate ceasefire call

European Union foreign ministers yesterday failed to agree on demanding an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East, opting instead for a diplomatically softer position asking for an immediate end to hostilities.
Meanwhile, interviewed by Business Today, Labour shadow foreign minister Leo Brincat urged the Maltese government to be more vocal in calling for an immediate unconditional ceasefire in the Middle East.
The Labour MP did not mince his words in criticising the EU’s diplomatic inertia and the green light given by the United States and the United Kingdom to Israeli strikes on Lebanon.
Brincat’s criticism of US and Israeli policies comes in the wake of an international outcry on a massacre of 60 civilians in the Lebanese town of Qana.
The massacre at Qana was yesterday described as a “war crime” by international human rights organisation Human Rights Watch.
Asked whether he agreed with Malta’s participation in an eventual peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, Brincat said he personally found no objection as long as the mission would be approved and run by the United Nations.
“I believe that Malta should in future consider participation in peacekeeping forces so long as they are mandated and run entirely by the UN and so long as participation in them is strictly voluntary by our armed forces’ members.”
Brincat made it clear that this position has not yet been endorsed by the MLP, a party traditionally wary of involvement in military missions abroad.
The Labour MP said that the success of any peacekeeping mission on the Lebanese frontier must be acceptable to Israel, Lebanon and Hizbollah.

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