US urges Hezbollah to stop violence in Lebanon
The United States on Friday urged an end to
violent clashes between the Shiite movement Hezbollah and pro- government
opponents in Lebanon that have rocked Beirut for days.
"In Lebanon, we are very troubled by the recent actions of Hezbollah. We urge Hezbollah to stop their attempt to defy the lawful decisions taken by the democratically elected Lebanese government," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House's National Security Council.
President George W Bush hopes to speak with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora about the situation during a visit to the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheik to meet with regional leaders next week, while Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was to speak with the Lebanese government on Friday, Johndroe said.
Fifteen people have been killed and more than 60 wounded in the third day of fighting between the opposition led by Hezbollah and followers of the majority, which intensified after Hezbollah leader chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah delivered a defiant speech on Thursday accusing the government of an act of war after it launched a probe into a private communications network run by Hezbollah.
The White House also urged Iran and Syria to end support of Hezbollah.
"We have confidence in the government of Lebanon. They have proven in recent years that they want to make Lebanon a safe and prosperous country. And the United States stands firmly with the Lebanese government and the people of Lebanon," Johndroe said.
The escalation came amid high tension in Lebanon which has been rocked by the worst sectarian clashes since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war, dpa reported.