Condoleezza Rice met with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to show support for Lebanon’s democracy in spite of the fact that the Bush Administration is resisting an immediate cease-fire:
In a surprise visit to Beirut, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice praised the beleaguered prime minister of Lebanon on Monday for his courage in struggling to contain the fighting between the Hezbollah militia and Israel.
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.”
Saniora told Rice he was glad to have her in Lebanon, adding that his government is looking to “put an end to the war that is being inflicted on Lebanon.” The two shook hands across a conference table on which there were two flags, one Lebanese and one American. Half a dozen other diplomats sat around the table.
Saniora and other Lebanese officials are expected to push Rice to call for an immediate cease-fire, something the Bush administration has resisted.
Rice’s visit, her third to Lebanon, is intended to make a show of support and concern for both the Saniora government and the Lebanese people, administration officials said. She also plans to talk with Lebanese leaders about how the central government can gain control of the entire country.
“We all want to urgently end the fighting. We have absolutely the same goal,” Rice told reporters traveling with her.
Yes, the US wants to end the fighting but not until Israel has had the chance to seriously cripple Hezbollah, which, according to Israeili officials, may take up to another 10 days or so.
Update: IDF thinks Hezbollah is almost out of Katyusha rockets:
IDF Military Intelligence (MI) believes the army has 10 days left before diplomatic pressure puts an end to Operation Change of Direction against Hizbullah, The Jerusalem Post learned on Sunday.
In addition, MI – reflecting its latest strategic assessment – believes that the Islamist group has already been dealt a severe blow by the IDF operation launched 12 days ago, and that within a month it will run out of Katyusha rockets to fire at Israel.