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Blair Hopes Lebanon Cease-Fire Imminent

Tony Blair (file photo) (epa) July 24, 2006 -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair said today he hopes a peace plan will emerge for Lebanon within days that could lead to a cessation of hostilities.

"There have been, as you would expect, over the past few days enormous diplomatic efforts to get us to the point where I hope at some point within the next few days we can say very clearly what our plan is to bring about such an immediate cessation of hostilities," Blair said.

Blair made his comments to reporters after a meeting in London with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamil al-Maliki.

Blair said some form of an international force in southern Lebanon should be part of a plan to forge a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah guerillas.

He described what is happening in Lebanon as a "catastrophe" that is damaging Lebanon and its "fragile democracy."

Blair is due to hold talks on the Mideast crisis with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington on July 28.

(compiled from agency reports)

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