US: Syria, Iran, Hizbullah planning to topple Lebanese gov't

White House press secretary Toby Snow warned that such attempts would be viewed as a violation of Lebanon's sovereignty.

November 1, 2006 21:58
2 minute read.
US: Syria, Iran, Hizbullah planning to topple Lebanese gov't

john bolton 298.88. (photo credit: AP)

The White House said Tuesday it was concerned by "mounting evidence" that Syria, Iran and Hizbullah were planning to topple the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora. White House press secretary Toby Snow warned that such attempts would be viewed as a violation of Lebanon's sovereignty and UN Security Council Resolutions 1559, 1680 and 1701. He said one motive behind Syria's actions was to prevent the Lebanese government from cooperating with the decision of an international tribunal to try those accused of assassinating former prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005. Syria is suspected of involvement in the killing. "Any such effort to sideline the tribunal will fail, however, for the international community can proceed with establishing it, no matter what happens internally in Lebanon," Snow said. Meanwhile, a Syrian state-run newspaper on Wednesday rejected claims made by UN and US officials that arms were being smuggled into Lebanon from Syria, and suggested that ulterior motives lay behind the complaints. "Why are they telling these new lies at this specific time?" the official Tishrin newspaper said in an editorial, reacting to comments made Monday by UN envoy for Syria-Lebanon issues Terje Roed-Larsen and US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton. The editorial proposed several possible reasons for the allegations, including that they aimed to prevent Syria from playing a role in resolving crises in the Middle East. "Is it because the international community and superpowers such as Russia and some European countries are now talking about the importance of Syria's role in a peace process?" Tishrin asked. Representatives of the Lebanese government had "stated publicly and also in conversations with us that there has been arms coming across the border into Lebanon," Roed-Larsen said Monday. He said, however, that the UN could not confirm the Lebanese government reports because UN troops had not been asked by the Lebanese army to monitor the border with Syria. Bolton stressed that Syria was required to respect the UN arms embargo authorized by the Security Council resolution that ended the 34-day war in Lebanon last August. The Tishrin editorial also proposed that the arms smuggling allegations were an attempt to undermine attempts by pro-Syrian Lebanese factions to bring together rival political groups for talks next week on forming a national unity government in Lebanon. Another possibility it suggested was that they were an attempt to deflect the public's attention from US problems in Iraq and Afghanistan ahead of elections next week in the United States. "The Bush administration... wants to hide the truth with lies and to change the path of history. It is today confirming that it is the foremost enemy of Syria and of Arabs," Tishrin said.

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