Prime Minister Tony Blair headed off on holiday yesterday hopeful that a UN resolution for a ceasefire in Lebanon would be agreed today.
Speaking during a round of interviews before joining his family for their summer break in the Caribbean, the Prime Minister insisted diplomats would "take account" of representations from the Lebanese government and other Arab states.
He also defended his handling of the crisis and refusal to call for an "immediate" ceasefire, saying he thought people could now see that it was a "complicated situation".
Mr Blair said: "We need to take account of the reasonable representations made by the Arab League and the Lebanese.
"We need to get the resolutions down and then... deal with the underlying problems."
Mr Blair said that after the UN had mandated an international force, it would be crucial to restore the Lebanese Government's control over the south of the country, which both sides have indicated they were in favour of.
"We also need to get back to the Israel-Palestine problem," he added.
Mr Blair said he would do "all I can possibly do" in terms of negotiations while he was away. He will be talking to other world leaders by telephone throughout his break.
He said the "action" was now moving to New York, where he would be in touch with diplomats carrying out the negotiations.
Asked whether Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott would be left in charge of the negotiations, Mr Blair replied: "I've always been in charge of this."
It is understood that Mr Prescott will take control of the day-to-day running of the country as soon as Mr Blair departs, but the Prime Minister will retain control of the Lebanon negotiations. The Prime Minister said it was important to secure the cessation of hostilities as soon as possible in order to return to the Israeli-Palestine question which is "completely fundamental" to many of the issues in the Middle East.
He said he did not think British ground forces would be involved in the international stabilisation force.
He also dismissed suggestions he had undermined his position in the Labour Party and among his Cabinet with his handling of the Middle East crisis. Mr Blair is understood to have been in touch with Palestinian President Abu Mazen to assure him that the international community was urgently seeking a solution.
He said Britain welcomed the representations made by Lebanon and the involvement of the Arab league, because it indicated they were taking part in the negotiations process.
Diplomats at the United Nations in New York are continuing to work on a UN Security Council resolution, after Lebanon rejected an initial draft tabled by the United States and France as unacceptable.
A delegation from the Arab League has flown to New York to put their concerns directly to the Security Council.
The Lebanese government is holding out against the Franco-American ceasefire plan as it does not call for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops on the cessation of hostilities.