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Rice Chides Syria Over Lebanon, Iraq Policies

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2005 – Syrian leaders aren't helping matters by criticizing the U.N. investigation into the assassination of a former Lebanese leader, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Bahrain today.

"It's not helpful for the Syrians to make accusations about the nature of the investigation or to rant and rave against those who are against Syria," Rice said during an interview with Al Arabiaya News Channel in Manama.

The partially completed U.N.-sanctioned Mehlis report cites possible Syrian involvement in the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Syrian government officials have disavowed any involvement in Hariri's assassination and accused some countries, including the United States, of trying to put Syria in a bad light.

Rice said the UN Security Council would explore other options of influencing Syria if it doesn't cooperate in the investigation.

"The entire community, international community, is united in demanding that this cooperation be offered," Rice said.

UN pressure had coerced Syria to remove its troops and security apparatus from Lebanon, where outlawed terrorist groups like Hezbollah have been known to stir up violence and launch attacks on nearby Israel.

Rice, who visited Iraq Nov. 11, said Syria could also do more to stem the flow of terrorists across its border into Iraq.

"This is a matter of innocent Iraqis that are being killed because Syria will not control its territory," Rice said.

Yet, recent heightened rhetoric between the United States and Syria doesn't mean that there's a coming confrontation between the two countries, Rice said.

"This is not (between) the United States and Syria," Rice said. "This is Syria and the people of Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and of Iraq."

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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

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