U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice condemned the bomb blast that struck a U.S. embassy vehicle Tuesday in Beirut as an act of terrorism. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports during a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Rice said the United States will not be deterred in its efforts to bring democracy to Lebanon.
The State Department says the blast killed four people, none of them American, and damaged the armored embassy vehicle.
Secretary Rice calls it a terrorist act. She says if those responsible think they can intimidate the United States, they are wrong. "The United States will of course not be deterred in its efforts to help the Lebanese people, to help the democratic forces in Lebanon, to help Lebanon resist foreign interference in their affairs, and to uphold the many security council resolutions passed on behalf of a stable and democratic Lebanon," she said.
Rice spoke in Riyadh, where President Bush has spent the last two days in talks with Saudi leaders. The secretary of state told reporters that Lebanon was one of the issues discussed, particularly the Arab plan for resolving the dispute over the election of a new president. "American policy has much in common with what is in the Arab initiative, most especially that the Lebanese people should be encouraged to and then be permitted to elect their president. They have a consensus candidate. It should be a matter of going to the parliament and electing a president," she said.
The term of the last Lebanese president, pro-Syrian Emile Lahoud, expired last November. A dispute over the shape of the next government between the majority pro-western coalition and the Hezbollah-led opposition has blocked action in parliament.