susan rice close up 284.88 AP.
(photo credit: )
UNITED NATIONS — The
United States on Thursday accused Hizbullah and its
allies Iran and Syria of attempting to endanger Lebanon's stability and
undermine its independence.
US Ambassador Susan Rice singled out
Syria for displaying "flagrant disregard" for Lebanon's sovereignty and
political independence, citing its provision of increasingly
sophisticated weapons to Hizbullah and other militias in violation of a
UN resolution and issuance of 33 arrest warrants for senior Lebanese
officials and foreigners.
'Hizbullah has 10,000 operatives manning 40,000 missiles'
Is Hizbullah trying to take over Lebanon with Iran's help?
remains the most significant and most heavily armed Lebanese militia,"
she said. "It could not have done so if not for Syria's aid, and
facilitation of Syrian and Iranian arms."
Rice delivered the
statement on behalf of the Obama administration to reporters outside the
UN Security Council where members were holding a closed-door meeting
Thursday on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's latest report on Lebanon.
said the United States welcomes Ban's report, which stressed the
continuing threat to Lebanon's sovereignty and security posed by
Hizbullah and other armed militias.
"We continue to have deep
concerns about Hizbullah's destructive and destabilizing influence in
the region as well as attempts by other foreign players, including Syria
and Iran, to undermine Lebanon's independence and endanger its
stability," Rice said.
Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said
Rice "gave credibility to wrong facts, wrong information," pointing out
that the secretary-general's report says senior Lebanese officials
confirmed to the UN Secretariat that no weapons smuggling took place
across the Syria-Lebanon border.
Many Lebanese fear that if the
UN tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime
Minister Rafik Hariri — the current prime minister's father — accuses
members of Hizbullah in his killing, the government could collapse and
clashes could erupt between Shiite fighters and Hariri's mainly Sunni
Hizbullah and Syria have mounted a campaign to try to undermine the
tribunal by raising questions about its neutrality. Earlier this month,
Syria's judiciary issued arrest warrants against 33 Lebanese officials
and foreigners for allegedly misleading the investigation, among them
figures close to Saad Hariri and the first UN chief investigator, Detlev
Rice said Hizbullah is not accountable to Lebanon's democratic institutions.
"The United States urges all friends and neighbors of Lebanon to play a
constructive role in supporting the Lebanese government in good faith,"
she said. "We remain firmly committed to a sovereign, stable and
independent Lebanon with strong Lebanese institutions. This is the only
way to secure the best interests of the Lebanese people and the region
as a whole."