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Aid For The Lebanese People

Representatives from the United States, the United Nations, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and several European countries met in Rome to discuss the situation in Lebanon.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that any cease-fire must be sustainable, the country must be free of militias, and Lebanon's government must have effective sovereignty throughout the country. After the conference, Ms. Rice told reporters, "What we agreed upon is that there should be an international force under a U-N mandate that will have a strong and robust capability to help bring peace, to help provide the ability for humanitarian efforts to go forward, and to bring an end to the violence."

The U-N is appealing for one-hundred-fifty-million dollars in aid for Lebanese and others. Jan Egeland, the U-N's Emergency Relief Coordinator, says, "Eight-hundred-thousand [people] are now displaced or in desperate need of international humanitarian assistance":

"Too many civilians are suffering – both in northern Israel and all over here in Lebanon."

Out of deep concern for the humanitarian situation in Lebanon, the U.S. has authorized thirty-million dollars in immediate assistance to victims of the conflict. The first U.S. shipment of medical supplies was delivered to Lebanon earlier this week and additional shipments of medical supplies, plastic sheeting, and blankets are planned. The U.S. is also working closely with the governments of Lebanon and Israel to establish humanitarian corridors so aid can get to the people in need.

Secretary of State Rice said the U.S. "is "working tirelessly to help ease the plight of all innocent people who are suffering from violence: Lebanese, Israeli and Palestinian":

"I was pleased to hear that the Israeli government has responded positively to the proposal of the United States and other countries to open humanitarian corridors into Lebanon which will allow the international community to deliver much needed assistance to the Lebanese people."

In a written statement, the U.S. State Department says the U.S. will continue "to do all that it can to support the government of Lebanon as it seeks to address the needs of its people."

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