René van der Linden, the President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), today deplored the deaths of innocent civilians on all sides and called for an immediate halt to the fighting in the Middle East, according to a PACE press-release, forwarded to UNIAN.

"The continuing disproportionate use of force by Israel, in particular indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets, is completely unacceptable and in violation of the most basic norms of international law. Such a policy only plays into the hands of the terrorists and their extremist supporters," the President said.

"I also strongly condemn the terrorist acts of Hezbollah and its policy of violence. Nevertheless, the fight against terrorism must always be conducted with full respect for international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law," Mr van der Linden continued.

"Public opinion now expects the international community to agree on a strong common approach to stopping the violence and finding a durable solution to the conflict. Any further delay will only impede the chances of finding such a solution and risks compromising the credibility of the international community", he concluded.