Rice pays unannounced visit to Beirut
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an unannounced visit to Lebanon on Monday under tight security, as the country is in the process of forming a national unity government. Rice said her visit was aimed at discussing "how the United States can support the institutions of a free Lebanon including the work that we do to support the armed forces, to support the Lebanese economy and the Lebanese civil society."
Rice met with President Michel Suleiman, Prime Minister Fouad Saniora, parliament speaker Nabih Berri and Future Parliamentary bloc Leader MP Saad Hariri. Upon her arrival to Beirut, Rice said: "I am going to express the United States support for Lebanese democracy and how to support the institutions of a free Lebanon.”
Later in Baabda Palace, she expressed Washington's support for Lebanon. According to her, Bush administaration is looking forward to work with the new Lebanese president. She also said Lebanon and Syria are neighboring countries and must establish diplomatic relations between them.