(Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State) - The cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah is a victory for diplomacy, according to White House press secretary Tony Snow.
Speaking to reporters in Washington just hours after the cease-fire took effect the morning of August 14, Snow said both parties appear to be respecting the agreed-upon cessation of hostilities, reports Trend.
We've had statements coming out that indicate that people say that they're not going to abide by it, but so far they have. No rockets fired by Hezbollah today. And we hope that everybody will stay true to the cease-fire, he said.
Snow said the August 11 U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an end to the violence reflects the diplomatic goals of President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to support the Lebanese government in its efforts to extend its sovereign control over the entire territory of Lebanon and to put an end to Hezbollah aggression.
He said that the United States is hoping that the people of Lebanon will be the ultimate victors as their democratic government is strengthened and the Hezbollah militia is deprived of its ability to pursue an independent foreign policy.
We want not only for the cease-fire to hold, but to set in train the kind of events that are going to get us to where we want to be, which is a freestanding, democratic government in Lebanon that no longer has to worry about provocations that are waged within its borders by a militia that does not represent the people of Lebanon, he said.
Snow said the 15,000 international troops that will deploy alongside the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon will play a key role in ensuring that the situation does not revert to its previous status. He said these troops must be capable of intercepting and interrupting arms shipments from Syria and Iran to Hezbollah militants.
Snow said the United States would like to see Hezbollah disarmed in compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, but he added that this would be a long-term undertaking of the Lebanese government and the international forces.
Neither Snow nor State Department spokesman Sean McCormack offered a timeline for the deployment of the international forces, but McCormack said, [W]e obviously want to see that force generated as quickly as possible. He said he expects interested countries to hold a force-contributors conference at the United Nations in the near future.
Snow said the United States would not send ground troops to participate in the international stabilization force but might offer logistical support.
The monthlong conflict has focused international attention on the roles of Iran and Syria in supporting and arming Hezbollah, fomenting violence and trying to foil the democratic aspirations of people in Lebanon, the press secretary said.
That's an important advancement because it does make clear who's responsible, not only on the ground but regionally, for supporting the kind of violence that we have seen, he said.
McCormack said the full implementation of the Security Council resolution will be strategic setback for Iran and Syria.