NEWS

Greece urges UN action

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis flew to an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York yesterday, saying that the group of countries had to intervene immediately to end the crisis in the Middle East. Several foreign ministers, including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, were expected to meet at UN headquarters to discuss the hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. «The Security Council has to make decisions which will finally lead to the substantive and effective intervention of the international community so there is an immediate end to the failed logic of violence,» Bakoyannis said before leaving for New York. «Violence has caused death and misery in Lebanon and Israel, it has resulted in a crisis that is increasingly worsening and caused huge destruction for the Lebanese people,» she said. A delegation of Arab foreign ministers was also due to travel to the UN from an Arab League summit in Beirut. Lebanon, backed by other Arab countries, has objected to a proposed US-French resolution on the Middle East war but Bakoyannis said that this plan would form the basis for discussion at the UN. She said any agreement would have to be the «first step» of a wider diplomatic effort to establish sustainable peace throughout the Middle East. Bakoyannis did not rule out the possibility of visiting the region soon. Bakoyannis made her comments after meeting in Athens with Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal, who wants Greece to adopt a more active role in the crisis. «We are asking Greece to mediate to stop the Israeli aerial attack on Lebanon. Israel is the major power in the region, not Hezbollah,» said Bilal in an exclusive interview with Kathimerini. The minister said that Syria was not looking for a confrontation with Israel but that it would stand up to any perceived threat. «If Israel tries to attack Lebanon with land forces and if it approaches our land, we will not stand by with our arms folded,» Bilal said.