Reuters: Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi telephoned Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani on Sunday to urge Tehran to take an “active role” in diplomatic moves to solve the crisis in the Middle East. ST PETERSBURG, Russia, July 16 (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi telephoned Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani on Sunday to urge Tehran to take an “active role” in diplomatic moves to solve the crisis in the Middle East.
An Italian government source said Larijani had not given an immediate response but would respond “in the coming days”. Iran is believed to fund and support the Lebanese militant group Hizbollah, at the centre of the crisis between Israel and Lebanon.
Prodi, who has offered to be a “facilitator” in efforts to stem the cross-border bombardments, made his phone call from a Group of Eight summit in St Petersburg where world leaders had just agreed a declaration on the crisis.
The G8, which includes the United States and Russia, issued a statement blaming “extremists” for the upsurge in violence but calling on Israel to be restrained in responding to attack.
On Saturday, Prodi relayed to Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora what Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had told him were the conditions for any ceasefire. These included the return of captured Israeli soldiers, the cessation of rocket fire into Israel and the withdrawal of Hizbollah.
On Sunday, Hizbollah killed eight people in a rocket attack on the Israeli city of Haifa. Israeli air strikes killed at least 10 civilians and wounded scores in Lebanon’s southern port city of Tyre, witnesses said.