US blames Lebanon conflict on Iran & Syria


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

US jabs Iran, Syria, as seeks UN Lebanon resolution
Fri Aug 4, 2:02 PM ET

The United States issued a new rebuke to Iran and Syria accusing them of 
directing Hezbollah, as it said agreement on a UN resolution on the conflict in 
Lebanon was moving ever closer.

Top State Department official Nicholas Burns fired off the latest shot in a war 
of words between Tehran and Washington over the fighting, sparked on July 12 
when Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers.

"What is important is all of us understand what is happening here," Burns, under
secretary of state for political affairs said in a CNN interview.

"Iran created Hezbollah in 1982. Iran has funded Hezbollah and Iran has provided
the long-range rockets that are raining down on the northern part of Israel 
right now."

"We have to see this conflict as not just as one between Hezbollah and Israel as
a border conflict. It is a wider conflict because Iran is acting in a way that 
is fundamentally contrary to the hopes of all of us for stablility and peace in 
the Middle East."

"It was Iran and Syria that led Hezbollah to make this attack."

Intense diplomacy continued meanwhile at the United Nations over a resolution 
designed to end the fighting and provide a political framework for a lasting end
to violence.

"We expect and hope that could be done by early next week. We're working very 
closely with France and Britain and other allies to see if there's a basis to do
this," Burns said.

"We want it to happen as soon as that is humanly possible," said Burns.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had said at the end of her Middle East 
mission in Jerusalem on Monday that she hoped the resolution could be agreed by 
the end of this week.

But the timing of the package has slipped, and Rice has ordered US diplomats to 
work through the weekend in hopes of an agreement early next week.

"We are very close to having an agreement on all the specific language," said 
State Department Sean McCormack.

McCormack also said Rice had spoken briefly with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi 
Livni since Thursday.

Rice will also be discussing the crisis during the weekend when she goes to meet
President George W. Bush at his ranch in Texas.

Copyright © 2006 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved. The information 
contained in the AFP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or 
redistributed without the prior written authority of Agence France Presse.

Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

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