Rice Conveys U.S. Support to New Lebanese Government

Calls on Syria to remove intelligence forces, open border to trade

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an unannounced visit to Lebanon July 22 to convey the United States' support to the newly selected government of Prime Minister-designate Fouad Seniora and to urge all parties to implement the provisions of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 that call for the removal of all foreign forces from Lebanese territory and the disbanding of all militias.

After meeting with Seniora, Rice told reporters she traveled to Lebanon “to support the new Lebanon, and the new Lebanon is one that is democratic, the new Lebanon is one that should be free of foreign influence.”

She stressed that Resolution 1559 calls for the removal of all Syrian forces, including intelligence forces. She also urged Syria to open its borders for trade.

Rice said that the United States is prepared to support the new Lebanese government as it undertakes economic and political reforms and that the international community will welcome the changes taking place in Lebanon.

“I think that [Lebanon] is going to find an international system that is very strongly committed to a Lebanon that is free of violence, that is free of terrorism, that is unified and the Lebanon where all people of Lebanon feel represented and safe,” she said.

Rice called the political process under way in Lebanon “a wonderful breakthrough for the Lebanese people.”

The transcript of Rice’s remarks

Source: International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State

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