Rice changes presentation - still opposes immediate ceasefire
Rice urges ceasefire but Lebanon war rages on
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for an urgent ceasefire between Israel and Hizbollah but the guerrilla group's leader on Monday vowed no let-up in missile attacks against the Jewish state.
Israeli warplanes pounded south Lebanon early on Monday after Hizbollah missiles hit northern Israel over the weekend.
Hizbollah's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in remarks published on Monday that Israeli attacks would not halt the guerrilla group's rocket fire.
On a mission to avert full-scale war in the Middle East, Rice said there was an "urgent" need for a ceasefire in southern Lebanon but conditions had to be right.
Speaking to reporters late on Sunday as she flew to the Middle East, Rice said she also wanted to ease the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon, which has been pounded by nearly two weeks of fighting.
"It is very important to establish conditions under which a ceasefire can take place. We believe that a ceasefire is urgent, Rice said before a refueling stop in Shannon, Ireland.
"It is important to have conditions that will make it also sustainable," Rice said. Read more
db: "Rice said there was an urgent need for a ceasefire" - the BBC [Radio 4 'Today'] were hailing this as a significant change in US policy, however in reality nothing appears to have changed. Talking about 'urgency' is nothing more than PR. Israel is still killing civilians and destroying infrastructure on a massive scale - the US intention is to give them as much further time as possible to carry on doing so - that is the only priority. [BBC Worldservice radio news have just lead with this so-called US 'policy change' - at 11.00AM BST - they said it came about via 'pressure from Arab governments' - which must be like getting 'savaged by a dead sheep', to quote D.Healey]