Iran TerrorismBeckett voices 'very real anxiety' that Iran or Syria...

Beckett voices ‘very real anxiety’ that Iran or Syria behind conflict


AFP: Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has voiced “very real anxiety” that Iran or Syria might be behind Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel from Lebanon. LONDON (AFP) – Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has voiced “very real anxiety” that Iran or Syria might be behind Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel from Lebanon.

Beckett accused Hezbollah, which analysts say is backed militarily and financially by Tehran and Damascus, of sparking hostilities by firing rockets into Israel and kidnapping its soldiers last week.

When asked whether she believed that Iran and Syria were orchestrating the attacks, Beckett told BBC Radio: “I think there is a very real anxiety about that.

“Hezbollah wantonly poured petrol on the bonfire. It is very clear that their intervention was intended to create an infinitely worse situation of the kind that we have now,” Beckett said.

“One can only ask oneself whose interests are served by that? It is certainly not the interests of the people of Lebanon,” Beckett said.

Asked whether she agreed with critics who describe Israel’s counter-strikes as disproportionate, she replied: “It’s not proportionate to be firing rockets into Israel all the time either.

“It is clear that Israel has been under attack and is now responding in Lebanon. It is also clear that this is inflicting huge damage both on civilians in Israel and civilians in Lebanon,” Beckett said.

Beckett restated Britain’s call for the unconditional release of two Israeli soldiers abducted by Hezbollah as well as for “all those involved in the region to react proportionately to the problems that we all know they are experiencing”.

She added: “We must all try to make sure that what we do not see in Lebanon is the destruction of a state. It is an extremely dangerous situation.”

Beckett said it was clear that there would at some point be a ceasefire, but it was vital that action is taken internationally to ensure that this ceasefire is sustainable.

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s proposal for a stabilization force was a “viable option” to preserve any ceasefire by preventing Israel from being attacked from southern Lebanon.

“Of course, we need action to cease, but there needs to be something that can then maintain and police and monitor such a ceasefire, so I think it is potentially a viable option,” she said.

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