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» 06/17/2008
LEBANON
Secretary Rice brings US backing to Suleiman and Siniora
The US secretary of state’s short stop in Lebanon shows Washington is “present” in the Doha agreement and Lebanon’s presidential election. Clashes between pro- anti-government supporters in Bekaa Valley result in three dead and four wounded.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice openly backed Lebanon’s new president, Michel Suleiman, and the country’s democratic system; she also called on the United Nations to resolve a dispute over the Shebaa Farms, a 30 km2 sliver of land occupied by Israel and claimed by Lebanon.

On a surprise, five-hour visit to Lebanon, in addition to President Suleiman Ms Rice met Prime Minister-designate Fuad Siniora, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and parliamentary majority leaders Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblatt and Amin Gemayel.

Her first reason to visit Lebanon was to show US support for the new Lebanese president and approval of the Doha Agreement that made his elections possible.

US solidarity with Lebanon’s pro-Western leaders is natural and US call for UN intervention on the Shebaa Farms issue is a way to buttress Siniora’s action.

Never the less, the US secretary was able to avoid entanglements with the Hizbollah issue. In answering journalists as to whether Washington would recognise a Lebanese government that included Hizbullah representatives, Ms Rice reiterated that the United States had long ago listed this movement as a terrorist organisation and that nothing had changed in this regard. But she also added that forming a government in Lebanon was a Lebanese issue.

In Lebanon however violence is again never too far away from politics. This morning three people were killed and four others wounded in armed clashes that raged in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley between pro- and anti-government supporters.

Some reports indicate that rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine gunfire were used in the fighting that took place in the villages of Taalbaya and Saadnayel, forcing the army to move in to separate the contenders.

The pro-majority Al-Mustaqbal daily said however that fighting had instead erupted after a quarrel broke out between Hizbullah and AMAL fighters on the one hand and Lebanese soldiers on the other. (PD)


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See also
03/06/2007 LEBANON
More and more talk about a “Saudi” solution to Lebanon’s political crisis
02/15/2010 LEBANON
Commemorating Rafik Hariri’s death, demanding answers from March 14 leaders
by Fady Noun
09/21/2007 LEBANON
A country in mourning looks to the future with anxiety
01/16/2007 LEBANON
Donors’ conference, cause of dissent between government and opposition
by Youssef Hourany
05/17/2007 LEBANON
Welch leaves Beirut confirming US support for Siniora and international tribunal
by Youssef Hourani

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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