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'Immediate' ceasefire essential after Qana: Russia

Monday, 31 July 2006 - 6:33pm IST | Agency: AFP

Russia feels that the deadly Israeli bombing of Qana was a "gross violation" of international norms that confirms the need for an immediate ceasefire.

MOSCOW: The deadly Israeli bombing of Qana in southern Lebanon was a "gross violation" of international norms that confirms the need for an immediate ceasefire, Russia's foreign ministry said on Monday.


The Qana bombing "clearly confirms the need to immediately end military activities, bloodletting and violence in Lebanon", foreign ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said.


"We have repeatedly expressed our condemnation... of activities that make the civilian population suffer. Such 'mistakes' are a gross violation of fundamental norms of international humanitarian law," Kamynin added.


Israel has faced widespread condemnation since its bombing raid that killed at least 52 people, including 30 children, in a shelter in the southern Lebanese village of Qana on Sunday.


Israel on Monday announced it would suspend air strikes in Lebanon for 48 hours pending an investigation into the attack, with Arab and Muslim leaders branding the assault a "war crime".


However an army spokesman said that Israeli forces carried out an air strike on Monday in support of a ground operation near the southeastern Lebanese border village of Taibe.


In his statement, Kamynin said the Qana bombing contravened Geneva Conventions for the protection of war victims, particularly on the protection of civilians during war.


"The arguments and logic of those who delay a ceasefire under various pretexts should not be accepted, particularly since the international community is finding a consensus on the main parameters of a resolution," he added.

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