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Statement by the President

Contact: White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 202-456-2580

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following text is a statement by President Bush:

The Situation in Lebanon

I am deeply disappointed by the recent violence and bloodshed on the streets of Lebanon.  It is all the more troubling that the violence occurred while Lebanon’s legitimate leaders and friends were gathered together in Paris to help secure a peaceful and prosperous future for the country.  Lebanon’s friends have pledged a total of $7.6 billion at the International Conference on Support for Lebanon.  I will ask Congress for $770 million to contribute to this cause.  With this pledge, total U.S. support for Lebanon since last summer’s conflict, including the $230 million pledged at the Stockholm conference last August, will equal approximately $1 billion.  This is a strong symbol of the American people’s support for and commitment to the future of Lebanon.

All those who seek a peaceful, constitutional solution to the crisis in Lebanon deserve the support of the international community, but those responsible for creating chaos must be called to account.  While Lebanon’s friends seek to help the Lebanese government build a free, sovereign, and prosperous country, Syria, Iran, and Hizballah are working to destabilize Lebanese society.  Their goals are clear.  They foment violence in order to prevent the establishment of a Special Tribunal in response to former Prime Minister Hariri’s assassination, to prevent full implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for Hizballah’s disarmament, and to bring down Lebanon’s democratically elected government, in violation of its constitution.  The United States will continue to support Lebanon’s government as it seeks a peaceful and prosperous future for all the people of Lebanon.