CHINA / National

Team to escort observer's remains back home
Updated: 2006-07-27 15:54

"For China and for others," China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya said, "we condemn this because I think any attack on the United Nations positions and the United Nations personnel is inexcusable and unacceptable."

President Hu Jintao instructed officials to condemn the attack, said a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

Hu "demanded the departments concerned properly handle the aftermath of the incident and take every measure necessary to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals in Lebanon," it said.

A large plume of smoke billows in the town of Khiam, in southern Lebanon, Tuesday, July 25, 2006, after Israeli air raids targeted it. An Israeli air raid on south Lebanon killed as many as four UN observers, overshadowing an international crisis meeting due to open in Rome, as Hezbollah vowed to fire rockets further into the heart of Israel.[AP Photo]
A Lebanese man reacts as he looks at destruction caused by Israeli air strikes in the southern suburbs of Beirut, a strong hold of Hezbollah, July 25, 2006. [AFP]

Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said earlier that China felt "deeply shocked" by and "strongly condemned" the Israeli air raid.

The country called for an immediate ceasefire. "China urges the concerned sides, especially Israel, to take tangible measures to ensure the security of UN peacekeepers," Liu said.

"China will work with the international community, increase diplomatic efforts and push the Middle East situation back to peace and stability at an early date," he added.

Austria and Finland, both of which also lost citizens in the attack, condemned the bombing, with Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja calling it "truly tragic." The fourth victim of the bombing was Canadian.

"These so-called precision attacks seem to be mainly targeting everyone else except the Hezbollah," Tuomioja said. "The longer this continues the more likely it is that there will be more similar victims."

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on Israel on Tuesday to investigate what he termed the "apparently deliberate targeting" of the UN observer post.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Wednesday he had spoken to Annan to express "deep sorrow" over the four deaths in Lebanon and to say he was ordering an investigation.

But he voiced shock at Annan's suggestion that the attack was deliberate.

Following a closed-door briefing on the attack by Jane Holl Lute, a deputy head of UN peacekeeping operations, council members hoped the 15-nation body would adopt a statement on Wednesday or Thursday.
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