Beirut, Sept. 11 (Reuters): About 2,000 Lebanese protested against British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s visit to Beirut today, accusing him of backing Israel’s 34-day war with Hizbollah, and several cabinet ministers refused to meet him.
“He was a party in the war,” health minister Mohammad Khalifeh, of the Shia Amal movement, said. “He supported the US position and did not call for a ceasefire...It is natural that we do not receive him.”
Blair angered many Lebanese by his refusal to call for an early ceasefire in the conflict which killed nearly 1,200 people in Lebanon, mainly civilians, and 157 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
Two Hizbollah ministers also declined to attend Blair’s talks with the Lebanese government, even though a spokesman for Blair said the British leader had been ready to meet them.
“I’m standing here because Blair is the killer of Lebanese children,” said Ibad Malak, a 19-year-old student.