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David Cameron: G8 and the Lebanon - The need for concerted action

Responding to the Prime Minister's statement on the G8 Summit, today, Conservative Party Leader, David Cameron, said:

(Check against delivery)

"I thank the Prime Minister for his statement. This is a deeply troubling time. Israel's and Lebanon's citizens are suffering. Many British citizens are caught up in the conflict. And there is a very real danger of that conflict escalating.

Everyone has been watching as the world's most powerful leaders have met in St Petersburg, while a vital region has descended into war. They want and expect concerted action.

The Prime Minister spoke about creating the conditions necessary for the implementation of a ceasefire.He is right that these must include the release of Israeli hostages, the end of rocket attacks on Israel, and a future for Lebanon without armed militias. Isn't it the case that only by addressing the long term causes of this crisis will we achieve lasting peace?

I have some questions about the immediate crisis; questions on longer term issues; and wider questions about progress on the Gleneagles agenda.

The Prime Minister spoke about differing emphasis in the G8 - and varying degrees of ellipticality. In spite of this, will there now be an intense, co-ordinated and powerful effort to bring about a resolution to the crisis in the coming days?

We know the Prime Minister is considering visiting the Middle East. Can he tell us what part he will play in this process and how that will fit in with the role of the other countries?

The Prime Minister talked about a UN force to act as a security presence.

What would its mandate be?

Which countries have so far indicated their willingness to contribute?

And given the remarks by John Bolton, does it have the full support of the United States?

Stability requires the Lebanese Government to exercise full control over its country and to disband the militias - in other words doesn't it mean that UN Resolution 1559 needs to be implemented in full?

As the Prime Minister said, it is now absolutely clear for everyone to see that the involvement of both Iran and Syria in Hamas and Hezbollah is deeply destructive and needs to be addressed.

The whole House will be concerned about the safety of British citizens. The Foreign Office Minister said yesterday that this is potentially the biggest British evacuation since Dunkirk.

What is the current clear advice to British citizens at present?

Can the Prime Minister tell us what arrangements have been put in place to ensure that the MoD and the Foreign Office are working as one?

The Prime Minister talked of warships sent to the eastern Mediterranean. Is he confident that there is sufficient capacity to evacuate, and then accommodate in Cyprus, everyone for whom we are responsible?

Tackling the long term causes involves re-starting the road map, tackling Iran's nuclear ambitions, and ending Syrian involvement in Lebanon.

The US has offered direct talks with Iran, should enrichment activity be fully suspended.

Does the Prime Minister agree that there is now no longer any excuse for Iranian intransigence?

With these significant developments in this strategically vital part of the world, with so many British citizens - constituents of ours - caught up in the crisis, will the Prime Minister secure a full scale foreign affairs debate before Parliament rises for the summer recess?

On Gleneagles, I welcome what the Prime Minister said about the progress made since Gleneagles.

On the target on HIV treatments by 2010, it is vital - as we suggested - that interim targets are set. Were these targets backed specifically by the G8?

A successful trade round, as the Prime Minister said, will do more than anything else to alleviate poverty. The Prime Minister said that at the end of the G8 countries were empowered to show flexibility. Should we be concerned that the list he read out did not include President Chirac? Time is running out.

Isn't this one of those moments that is a genuine test for the G8 - short term and long term?

The vital need for a trade deal. And today, as hundreds of innocent civilians are dying in Israel and in Lebanon, with thousands of British citizens trapped in the conflict, is there not an urgent need for concerted action to deal with this crisis?"

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