NEWS

Greece still hopeful on Lebanon

Athens was upbeat about the outcome of an international meeting in Rome yesterday even though world diplomats failed to push for an immediate ceasefire between Lebanon and Israel, which Greece had wanted. «It is positive and encouraging that there is a common position, a clear message and a framework in three areas,» said Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis after the meeting. «Firstly, in the humanitarian area, which is important to Greece. Secondly, in the need for everybody to become active immediately so the hostilities can stop. Thirdly, in preparing for the forming of an international stabilization force,» said Bakoyannis. World powers agreed to work with «utmost urgency» for a truce and called for an international force to be deployed in Lebanon. But a ceasefire «must be lasting, permanent and sustainable,» said a declaration released after the conference. Bakoyannis said Hezbollah should return the two Israeli soldiers it kidnapped and that militias in Lebanon would have to be disarmed.