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Support For Lebanon

At the United Nations in New York City, representatives from the United States, Britain, Egypt, the European Union, France, Italy, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the U-N gathered to demonstrate their support for the new government of Lebanon.

U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan and others pledged financial and other assistance to help Lebanon recover from nearly thirty years of civil war and foreign interference. Mr. Annan says, "The international community remains steadfast in its determination to ensure that outside actors end all interference in the domestic affairs of Lebanon."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice offered this comment:

"Syria needs to get on the right side of events that are going on in the Middle East. That means to cut off the routes that insurgents are using to use Syrian territory to penetrate into Iraq and to kill innocent Iraqis. That means to close off support for Palestinian rejectionists who are the single biggest threat to progress in the Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement, and again to make certain that nothing is being done to interfere in the affairs of Lebanon."

Ms. Rice says that Syria should cooperate with the investigation of the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, an opponent of the Syrian occupation. Mr. Hariri and twenty others died in a February bombing in Beirut, Lebanon's capital. The widespread protests that followed forced Syria to withdraw its troops which had been present in Lebanon since 1976.

Several former top Lebanese government officials, including Ali Hajj and Mustafa Hamdan, are in custody in connection with the bombing. Anne Patterson, the deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, says, "These gentlemen who have been arrested do have...longstanding ties with Syria."

In June, the Lebanese completed the third round of parliamentary elections. The anti-Syrian opposition led by Sa’ad Hariri, Rafik Hariri’s son, won a majority of seventy out of one-hundred-twenty-eight seats. The new Lebanese government is committed to political and economic reform. Secretary of State Rice says, the U.S. is "going to support the Lebanon government as they move forward."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.