The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:
The United States has recalled its ambassador to Syria in the wake of the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Mr. Hariri was assassinated in a car-bombing in Beirut on February 14th.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says that U.S. Ambassador Margaret Scobey was ordered back to Washington for "urgent consultations" after the "brutal murder" of Mr. Hariri:
"Following the murder of former Prime Minister Hariri, Ambassador Scobey delivered a message to the Syrian government expressing our deep concern as well as our profound outrage over this heinous act of terrorism."
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that the United States is "not laying blame" on Syria for Mr. Hariri's murder. His killing, she says, must be fully investigated. But, Ms. Rice points out, "There are Syrian forces in Lebanon; Syria operates out of Lebanon:"
"This is part of the destabilization that takes place when you have the kind of conditions that you do now in Lebanon, thanks to Syrian interference. So we are united with the rest of the world in wanting a full investigation into what happened here. But there is no doubt that the conditions created by Syria's presence there have created a destabilized situation in Lebanon."
Secretary of State Rice says the U.S. has "a growing list of differences" with Syria and has "repeatedly" raised those concerns with senior Syrian officials, according to State Department spokesman Boucher:
"Including the Syrian presence in Lebanon, the continued presence and operational activities of international terrorist groups and of the Iranian regime on and through Syrian territory, and the use of Syrian territory by the Iraq insurgency. To date, these concerns have not been adequately addressed and we again call upon the Syrian government to take positive action on all these matters."
Secretary of State Rice says the time has come for Syria "to find a new path" in its relationship with the United States. She expressed the hope that the Syrian government would view the recall of the American ambassador as "a strong signal" to Syria to alter its behavior.