Rice holds talks with Lebanese PM in Beirut
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an unannounced visit to Beirut on Monday. Rice met with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, who greeted her with a kiss on both cheeks. Rice told him, "Thank you for your courage and steadfastness."
According to the AP, Saniora told Rice he was happy to have her in Lebanon, adding that his government is looking to "put an end to the war that is being inflicted on Lebanon." Rice's visit is intended to make a show of support and concern for both the Saniora government and the Lebanese people, American officials said. She also plans to talk with Lebanese leaders about how the central government can gain control of the entire country, including the south.
Rice has said her trip this week to the region will find ways to get much humanitarian aid to Lebanon. She intends to declare U.S. financial aid in her stops. "We all want to urgently end the fighting. We have absolutely the same goal," Rice told reporters traveling with her.
En route to the region, Rice discussed the role of Syria, which the U.S. considers one of the world's state sponsors of terror. "The problem isn't that people haven't talked to the Syrians. It's that the Syrians haven't acted," she said. "I think this is simply just a kind of false hobby horse that somehow it's because we don't talk to the Syrians. "It's not as if we don't have diplomatic relations," she said. "We do."