Rice makes surprise visit to Beirut

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit Thursday to Lebanon where tension has been rising over the campaign by anti-Syrian legislators to oust pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud. Rice was expected to lend support to the government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, which is dominated by anti-Syrian politicians. Rice arrived at midmorning on the second day of her Middle East tour. She spent Wednesday in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two key players in Arab attempts to mediate between Lebanon and Syria whose relations deteriorated severely after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri last year.