Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) with U.S. President George W. Bush on the eve of the G8 summit (epa)
July 17, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has appealed for calm in the Middle East amid the sixth day of fighting in Lebanon.
Speaking on the last day of a three-day summit in St. Petersburg of the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrialized states, Putin said that "the main thing now is to stop violence, stop the growing confrontation, prevent the region from falling back into chaos, prevent a wider conflict, end the suffering of common people, give priority to political and diplomatic methods of settlement with the central mediating role of the United Nations."
Putin said Russia would consider contributing troops to an international peacekeeping force in the Middle East if the UN approved such a deployment.
Putin also said the G8 leaders had a "frank discussion" on democracy in Russia, energy problems, trade, education, and poverty.