Not to be outdone by the Italians, France has raised its troop commitment to 2,000, hoping to retain its leadership role in the peacekeeping effort in Lebanon. Kofi Annan was initially displeased with Europe’s response to the call for a peacekeeping force.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan demanded a cease-fire while also condemning Hezbollah and attacking Israel for “excessive use of force.” The European Union made similar demands for a cessation of violence and pledged 10 million euros in aid. Bombed-out roads in southern Lebanon are hampering aid efforts.
At the G8 summit for world leaders, President Bush was caught on a live microphone telling Tony Blair that he held Syria accountable for Hezbollah’s actions against Israel.
“What they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over,” Bush told Blair while chewing on a buttered roll. Important: This is not a hypocrisy alert. Bush’s unguarded statements were for the most part consistent with his public ones. But it’s still a fascinating glimpse into his manner of interaction with America’s closest ally.