US pledges large amount for Lebanon reconstruction

The United States will make a large contribution to reconstruction in Lebanon following last summer's war, a senior US official said Sunday. French President Jacques Chirac is to chair a conference Wednesday and Thursday aimed at raising money for rebuilding Lebanese infrastructure, and US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told a security conference in central Israel that the United States "is going to make a considerable pledge of resources to do that." Burns said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would take part in the conference. Burns said the assistance would be part of the world effort "to defend a democratically elected government from that axis of countries, Iran and Syria, and organizations like Hizbullah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and others." Burns did not say how much the US plans to contribute.