Rice calls for free and fair elections in Lebanon

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called upon Lebanon on Monday to conduct "free and fair" presidential elections. In a meeting with senior Lebanese political leader Walid Jumblatt, she assured him of the "ongoing US support for the path of democracy and reform" in the Middle Eastern country, a US spokesman said. Rice did not speak to reporters after the meeting and spokesman Tom Casey did not provide details of what form US support might take, although he singled out Lebanon's right to free and fair presidential elections under a UN Security Council resolution. It was Rice's second meeting with the anti-Syria leader of the Progressive Socialist Party in two weeks, symbolically ensuring that Syria and its supporters are made aware of the US determination to terminate Syrian influence in Lebanon.