CAIRO: Iran and Egypt called Sunday for a United Nations-backed truce between Israel and Lebanese movement Hezbollah to be respected, hours before the ceasefire agreement secured by UN chief Kofi Annan was to come into effect.
Iran and Syria, seen as the main backers of the Shiite fundamentalist movement Hezbollah, also expressed their support for Beirut s approval of the UN Security Council resolution passed Friday which called for an end to hostilities.
We appeal to the parties to respect it [the truce], as we call on the international community to exercise pressure to this end, Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit said after talks with his Iranian counterpart.
The declaration came after a three-hour meeting in Alexandria with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.
Mottaki told journalists that Iran respected the Lebanese government s decision Saturday to approve UN Resolution 1701 that calls for both sides to end hostilities and for the deployment of UN and Lebanese forces in the south of the country.
Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government … and we have supported and continue to support decisions taken unanimously in Lebanon, which must be respected by everyone, Mottaki said.
Syria also weighed in, saying it supported Lebanon s approval of the UN text as well as Beirut s reservations on the deal, official media said.
Syria supports Lebanon s unanimous decision as well as official Lebanese reservations about UN Security Council Resolution 1701, an anonymous Syrian official was quoted as saying by the official SANA news agency.
An official Lebanese source said Saturday that the unanimous reservations … came because the resolution did not condemn large-scale Israeli destruction in Lebanon.
Israeli soldiers on July 12 have left more than 1,100 Lebanese and 150 Israelis dead and Lebanon s infrastructure in tatters.
UN chief Kofi Annan said that both sides had agreed to end hostilities in keeping with Resolution 1701 at 0500 GMT Monday.
Syria and Iran are seen as Hezbollah s main backers, although both countries deny they supply the Shiite movement with arms. AFP