US to more than triple aid to Lebanon

The United States plans to more than triple its economic aid to the fragile democratic government in Lebanon as US business executives detail new investment and development plans in the tiny, troubled country. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday the Bush administration is seeking US$770 million (€592.1 million) in new aid for Lebanon. The money, which must be approved by Congress, would finance long-term redevelopment and immediate rebuilding from last year's devastating war between Hezbollah militants and Israel. A 35-nation pledging session was expected to bring in about US$5 billion (€3.8 billion) for Lebanon on Thursday, two days after deadly protests in Beirut offered fresh proof of Lebanon's deep political and sectarian divisions.