john bolton 298.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Syria denied on Thursday accusations by the White House that it was seeking to topple Lebanon's Western-backed government, and said it was not interfering in Lebanese internal affairs.
"The US administration's attempts to circulate that Syria, Iran and Hizbullah are seeking to destabilize Lebanon are not true," the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "Since it withdrew its troops from Lebanon, Syria has voiced its support for anything that the Lebanese agree on through their national dialogue," the statement said.
White House spokesman Tony Snow on Wednesday said there was "mounting evidence that the Syrian and Iranian governments, Hizbullah, and their Lebanese allies are preparing plans to topple Lebanon's democratically elected government."
While the White House did not detail evidence, it singled out Syria for an alleged plan to derail possible prosecutions for the assassination of Rafik Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister who had tried to draw his country away from Syrian domination.
Local and international pressure following his Feb. 2005 assassination forced Damascus to pull out its troops from Lebanon, ending a 29-year-military presence.
Terje Roed-Larsen, the top UN envoy for Syria-Lebanon issues, and the US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, also accused Syria and Iran on Monday of violating a UN embargo meant to keep Hizbullah from rearming after the 34-day war it waged with Israel last summer.
Roed-Larsen said that representatives of the Lebanese government "have stated publicly and also in conversations with us that there have been arms coming across the border into Lebanon."
The Lebanese government denied having shared such allegations.
"These comments are inaccurate," Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr said late Wednesday of Roed-Larsen's statement.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora also weighed in earlier Wednesday on whether his government had informed the UN envoy of the alleged smuggling.
"Neither the government, nor I told anybody about this," he told reporters.
A state-run newspaper in Syria, Tishrin, on Wednesday rejected the claims about arms shipments into Lebanon from Syria.