G8 blames 'extremists' for Lebanon violence

 

Group of Eight leaders on Sunday blamed an upsurge in violence in the Middle East on  "extremists" and while accepting Israel's right to self-defence said the Jewish state must exercise restraint.

"These extremist elements and those that support them cannot be allowed to plunge the Middle East into chaos," said the text of a statement hammered out by the leaders of the world's richest nations during an afternoon of talks.

"We call upon Israel to exercise utmost restraint," the statement added.

ive days of cross-border bombardments on Lebanon by Israeli forces and rocket attacks into Israel by their Hizbollah militant foes have left dozens of civilians dead and raised fears of a regional conflict.

Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that as part of efforts to end Israeli-Hizbollah fighting in Lebanon Group of Eight leaders want a new military observer force for the country.

"We are firmly convinced that the Lebanese government must be given all manner of support to implement UN resolutions on southern Lebanon.

We ask that in addition to the UN activities, an additional observer and security mission be set up. That must be done through the UN," she told reporters.