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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

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For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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