BEIRUT: U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. Susan Rice criticized Hezbollah for providing Syrian President Bashar Assad with arms, money and fighters in coordination with Iran.
“Hezbollah not only continues to undermine Lebanon from within by violating the government’s policy of disassociation, but actively enables Assad to wage war on the Syrian people by providing money, weapons, and expertise to the regime in close coordination with Iran,” Rice said in remarks Wednesday at the U.N. Security Council open debate on the Middle East
She warned that the conflict in Syria threatens the stability of its neighbors, particularly Lebanon, citing recent attacks in the Lebanese border towns of Hermel and al-Qasr.
Rice said Washington “strongly supports Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence, and stability.”
She hailed President Michel Sleiman’s leadership “during this turbulent period” and stressed that the formation of a new government “must remain Lebanese-led.”
“We encourage Lebanon’s leaders to adhere to the legal and constitutional framework for holding timely parliamentary elections,” Rice added.
For his part, U.N. Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman urged the international community to step up efforts that preserve stability in the region.
“As the situation inside Syria continues to deteriorate, it is even more vital that everyone collectively work towards preserving regional stability,” he said, briefing the Security Council ahead of day-long debate on the situation.
Feltman called for “quick action” to address the humanitarian situation unfolding inside and outside of war torn Syria, adding that Lebanon and Jordan were on the frontline and must be effectively supported.
“The desire for peace must be cultivated by early measures to reverse negative trends on the ground and build trust,” he added.