US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday blamed the apparent collapse of a truce in Lebanon on extremists trying to "sow discord" as she renewed the Bush administration's strong support of the Lebanese government.
"I certainly hope that the Lebanese government will be able to deal with these extremists," Rice said. "It's just another example of extremists in the Middle East who are trying to destabilize democratic governments."
Rice made her comments in a joint appearance with Australia's foreign minister, Alexander Downer. In Lebanon, heavy exchanges of gunfire erupted Thursday night between Lebanese troops besieging a Palestinian refugee camp and Islamic militants holed up inside, breaking the two-day-old truce.
"The Lebanese government is, I think, very much trying to do the right thing here, to protect its population against the extremists who would sow discord and instability there," Rice said. "And I think the world is speaking out in favor of the Lebanese government."