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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Nov 29th
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow US and Western Governments arrow Whitehouse Press Briefing - May 12-14, 2008
Whitehouse Press Briefing - May 12-14, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Whitehouse   
Wednesday, 14 May 2008




For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 14, 2008

Press Gaggle by Dana Perino and National Security Advisor Steve Hadley and Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Elliott Abrams
Aboard Air Force One En route Jerusalem, Israel

Press Briefings
6:16 P.M. EDT

Q Can I ask a question on Lebanon, if I may? What is the President going to be looking for specifically from Saudi Arabia and other people that he meets with later in the trip to shore up Prime Minister Siniora? And how concerned are you about his hold on power right now?

MR. HADLEY: Obviously the weekend was a very rough weekend. And what you had in some sense was an effort by Hezbollah to blackmail and intimidate the duly elected government of Lebanon. And as the Lebanese are beginning, themselves, to say this was Hezbollah not defending Lebanon from external enemies, this was Hezbollah turning on the Lebanese government and the Lebanese people, themselves.

This is very troubling development. We believe they would not have done it without the support of Iran and Syria, which is an example of this broader struggle being played out in the region. What to do? One of the things we have done, and Secretary Rice has been very active, is rallying the international community to support, through their diplomacy and statements, the Siniora government. And basically condemning what Hezbollah has done, making clear our support for the Siniora government and encouraging the army to support that government and act to bring stability and peace back to the country.

That diplomacy I think you saw played out in the Arab League statement, I think you will see potentially up in the U.N. Security Council in New York. He also made clear our support for the Lebanese army; we have been providing assistance to the Lebanese army, we obviously are going to continue to do that and see what more we can do as well. Obviously we are also going to talk to various countries about additional pressure that can be put on Syria and Iran, because in our view they are what is behind this.

There's obviously more to do, and that's what we're going to be looking at. Anything to add on that?

MR. ABRAMS: We'll be actually unrolling a few things in the course of the week, starting perhaps with the Security Council, and then some thing we'll be doing --

Q Consider new sanctions?

MR. ABRAMS: Well, we'll see what happens in New York. We'll see what the appetite is both in New York and then for, kind of, coalition of the willing.

MS. PERINO: Thank you, everyone. Anything for me, outside of that?

Q No, I think we're good. Thank you.

* * * * *

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 13, 2008

Press Gaggle by Dana Perino
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

Press Briefings

10:07 A.M. EDT

Q The President expressed a little bit of hesitation in one of the interviews yesterday over whether he'll actually be able to meet in Egypt with Siniora. What's the feeling on that now? Has he -- has the White House reached out to the Lebanon government, and is there a chance that if he leaves Lebanon he won't be able to get back home?

MS. PERINO: I think the President would certainly like to meet him while he's there in Egypt, but obviously there's considerations that have to be taken into account. And so we'll keep you updated as those developments occur.

Q Does it seem less likely now than before that there will be such a meeting?

MS. PERINO: I wouldn't put it that way, no.

* * * * *

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 12, 2008

Statement by the President

White House News

I strongly condemn Hizballah's recent efforts, and those of their foreign sponsors in Tehran and Damascus, to use violence and intimidation to bend the government and people of Lebanon to their will. The United States will continue to firmly support the Government of Lebanon, led by Prime Minister Siniora, against this effort to undermine the hard-fought gains in sovereignty and independence the Lebanese people have made in recent years. The international community will not allow the Iranian and Syrian regimes, via their proxies, to return Lebanon to foreign domination and control. To ensure the safety and security of the people of Lebanon, the United States will continue its assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces to ensure they are able to defend the Lebanese Government and safeguard its institutions.

It is critical that the international community come together to assist the Lebanese people in their hour of need. I plan to consult with regional leaders on my upcoming trip to the Middle East to coordinate efforts to support the Lebanese Government and implement U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701, among others, which seek to bolster Lebanon's sovereignty against external efforts at destabilization and interference. The Lebanese people have sacrificed much for the sake of their freedom, and the United State s will continue to stand with them against this latest assault on their independence and security.

# # #


For Immediate Release
May 12, 2008

Press Briefing by Dana Perino
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:15 P.M. EDT

Q Dana, there's another outbreak of violence today in Lebanon. How is that going to affect the President's trip to the Middle East? Is this going to raise new tensions and new issues that have to be dealt with?

MS. PERINO: Well, the issue of Hezbollah's negative influence, especially given that it is backed by the Iranians, is deeply troubling to the President. It's of concern, especially because there are innocent Lebanese who are caught in the middle of this conflict. The President has been calling for many months for the outside influencers to get out of the way and let the Lebanese have the democratically elected government that they voted for. And President Siniora* has shown tremendous courage, and that is not something that anyone can think of as something that was to be taken lightly in this situation. It's taken a lot of courage to stand as strong as he has in the past, and the President certainly stands with him now.

You can bet that this is a topic that will come up on the President's trip, and I know that Secretary Rice will be -- might have comments on this later today, probably in a written statement.

But in the meantime, we remain concerned. Our State Department officials are working very closely with those to try to help calm the tensions and reduce the violence.

Q Is he changing any aspects of his trip to deal with this?

MS. PERINO: No schedule changes that I'm aware of.

Q On Lebanon. Is the President disappointed or concerned about Siniora turning over the decisions that Hezbollah has complained about to the army?

MS. PERINO: I didn't get a direct -- I didn't find out, in terms of a direct, specific concern on that particular issue. I would tell you that we are troubled by the situation. We believe that Lebanon should not be used as a pawn in the Middle East, and that for the future of the Middle East, that you're going to have to have a democratic and peaceful Lebanon for that region to be able to thrive the way that it could if they're allowed to have peace. And if Iranian-backed and Syria-backed militias and fighters and sending in weapons -- all the negative influences that they're having in the region need to be halted. They need to change their behavior. And the President will call on them to do that during his trip.

* * * * *

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 9, 2008

Press Briefing by Gordon Johndroe
Crawford Middle School
Crawford, Texas

Press Briefings

11:21 A.M. CDT

MR. JOHNDROE: Good morning. I have a few announcements to make, and then I'll be happy to take your questions.

In Lebanon, we are very troubled by the recent actions of Hezbollah. We urge Hezbollah to stop their attempt to defy the lawful decisions taken by the democratically elected Lebanese government. We also urge Iran and Syria to stop their support of Hezbollah and its destabilizing effects on Lebanon.

We have confidence in the government of Lebanon. They have proven in recent years that they want to make Lebanon a safe and prosperous country, and the United States stands firmly with the Lebanese government and the people of Lebanon.


Q And on Lebanon?

MR. JOHNDROE: Hold on, are we done with Burma? Okay, Lebanon. Please, go ahead.

Q What specifically is the U.S. doing to support the Siniora government? And will the President still be able to meet with him next weekend in Egypt, given the crisis in his home country?

MR. JOHNDROE: It's my understanding Secretary Rice is reaching out to the Lebanese government today. We've been fully behind the Lebanese government for some time now; appreciate the work that Prime Minister Siniora has done, considering the great challenges he faces from groups like Hezbollah, who are doing nothing but trying to destabilize the country. And we certainly expect to see Prime Minister Siniora in Sharm el-Sheikh next week. The President would like to see him next Saturday or Sunday. But if he feels the situation on the ground doesn't permit him to do that, we understand that as well.

But I think the Lebanese government is working to make sure that the situation remains under control and that the country can continue to move forward.

Okay, Jeff.

Q Anything more specific -- we've stood behind them in their push towards democracy. Other than words, is there anything concrete we can do to aid our allies that we've pushed for this last -- since this government started in Lebanon?

MR. JOHNDROE: The United States has provided quite a bit of assistance to the government of Lebanon and the Lebanese armed forces, whether it's money, materiel, or advice over the last couple of years. And I think we will continue to do that. As I said, the Secretary of State is reaching out to the government of Lebanon, and we are always willing to see whatever their needs may be and work with them. It's a democratically elected government; we want to help them succeed because it's the right thing to do for the people of Lebanon and the people of the region.


Q Gordon, beyond their historic support for Hezbollah, do you have any indication that any of the current unrest is being directed out of Damascus or Tehran?

MR. JOHNDROE: I, personally, do not from here. I'm happy to look into that. But, look, as you said, historically Iran and Syria have supported Hezbollah. I have no indication that they've stopped supporting Hezbollah. But as far as directing the current action, I just can't tell you one way or the other right now.

* * * * *


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