European Union foreign ministers are discussing a draft statement that calls for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.
The foreign ministers of the 25-member bloc are trying to hammer out a unified position at a meeting in Brussels today (Tuesday).
Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said Israel's decision to intensify the offensive against Hezbollah will only increase support for the militant group and extremism in the region. Finland is the current EU president.
France has led calls for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. Britain has resisted that approach, pushing instead for an international force to be deployed in Lebanon to make sure that any truce is sustainable.
Earlier today, Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, criticized the United Nations Security Council for its failure to stop the fighting. He was in Beirut for talks with Lebanese officials.
Mottaki also met Monday with his French counterpart, Philippe Douste-Blazy, at the Iranian embassy in Beirut. Neither official made any comments after the talks. Douste-Blazy was making his third trip to Beirut since the conflict began July 12th.
The EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss which nations would contribute to an international force in Lebanon, and how to increase humanitarian aid to Lebanese affected by the fighting.
On Monday, President Bush again called for a lasting, sustainable ceasefire in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas. He said Iran and Syria must end their support for terror groups such as Hezbollah. The United States has refused to call for an immediate ceasefire.