"While Lebanon's friends seek to help the Lebanese government build a free, sovereign, and prosperous country, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah are working to destabilize Lebanese society," President George W. Bush said in a written statement. The United States, he said, "will continue to support Lebanon's government as it seeks a peaceful and prosperous future for all the people of Lebanon."
Mr. Bush condemned the recent clashes in Lebanon between supporters of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and those of the Hezbollah terrorist group. The violence left several people dead and more than one hundred injured.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the violence in Lebanon was an attempt by Hezbollah and its allies to distract the world's attention from the fact that Hezbollah "started a war with another country in that region that cost the Lebanese people dearly." Hezbollah and its supporters, said Mr. McCormack, also want to prevent Prime Minister Siniora's government from investigating the murder of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri in February 2005:
"There are people in Lebanon and outside of Lebanon who don't want to see that go forward. And so again that's another reason why you see these demonstrations in the streets. o what we think we can do is we can rally the forces of the international system to support this government and the good work that it's doing on behalf of the Lebanese people."
A United Nations inquiry into the Hariri assassination found probable cause to believe that Syrian security services were involved.
Some forty donor countries have pledged more than seven-and-a-half billion dollars to help Lebanon rebuild. President Bush said he will ask the U.S. Congress for an additional seven-hundred-and-seventy million dollars to contribute to Lebanon's reconstruction efforts. "This," said Mr. Bush, "is a strong symbol of the American people's support for and commitment to the future of Lebanon."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.