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Possibility Of A Cease Fire

The United Nations Security Council is working on a resolution aimed at bringing about a cease-fire in Lebanon and extending Lebanese government authority over the entire country.

The conflict started in July when Hezbollah fighters killed eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two others inside Israel and began to launch missiles at towns and cities in northern Israel. Israel responded by attacking Hezbollah sites inside Lebanon. Since then, hundreds of Lebanese and dozens of Israelis have been killed or wounded.

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the U-N, offered this comment:

"There are differences in approach to the nature of cessation of hostilities and how to make it permanent, but there is near-complete agreement on the fundamental political framework that has to be put in place. We have been making progress on that here in New York [at the U-N] and the exchanges between capitals, and I think that is really significant because it underlines the fundamental notion that we do not want to see a return to the status quo."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, "It's time to end the violence." She said the U.S. does not expect to see a complete change in the political and security situation in south Lebanon before a cease-fire is declared. But, says Secretary of State Rice, "It has to be clear to everyone that such a change is "the basis for a cease-fire or for a cessation of hostilities. It has to be clear to everyone that armed groups can't just be allowed to operate in the country in the way that they [Hezbollah] did."

In referring to Hezbollah's activities in Lebanon, Ms. Rice said, "You can't have. . . .an armed state within a state. The Lebanese government has to have full authority over its territory. It has to have full authority over all arms and armed people."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.