Powell mulls visiting Damascus, Beirut
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is hoping to wind up his peacemaking mission in the region on Tuesday, though there's been little progress so far.
According to American sources, on his way home, Powell may stop in Syria "to urge the country to clamp down on the Iranian-backed Hizbullah to prevent further attacks against Israeli position in Lebanon that threaten a wider war."
Government sources in Lebanon said Powell would travel to Beirut on Monday for talks with President Emile Lahoud.
Hizbullah guerrillas attacked Israeli positions in the occupied border zone of Shebaa Farms on Saturday evening, defying diplomatic pressure for calm.
Saturday's attack came a day after Powell demanded that Syria rein the group in, and after Iran signaled it did not want violence on the Israeli-Lebanon border to spark a wider conflict.
Powell called on Syria to curb Hizbullah during a visit to Israel on Friday, saying the attacks could have devastating consequences for the region.
Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi voiced concern that Israel would "expand the war", telling reporters in Beirut: "We should exercise self-restraint in the face of Israeli provocations."
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who last week called for an end to Hizbullah's attacks, contacted Lebanese President Emile Lahoud on Saturday for talks. Lahoud's office said they focused on the "explosive situation" in the region. (Albawaba.com)
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