WASHINGTON—The U.S. government on Friday restated its support for the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora after its forces were routed by fighters loyal to Hezbollah in Beirut.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would be telephoning leaders in the region about the situation, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.
"I would restate our unswerving commitment and support for the Siniora government," he said. "They are doing all the right things. ... Its use and deployment of the military serve the best interests of the Lebanese people and Lebanon."
Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah group took control of the Muslim half of Beirut on Friday, tightening its grip on the city in a major blow to the government. Pro-government gunmen had been battling fighters loyal to Hezbollah, a Shi'ite political movement, for three days.
McCormack told reporters he was "not aware of any contemplation" of deploying U.S. forces in the area.
He denounced Hezbollah as "armed gangs ... using violence and the threat of violence, to achieve some political end" which would only harm the Lebanese people.
McCormack would not discuss the possible involvement of Syria or Iran, Hezbollah's backers..
However, he said the United States has been encouraging parties with influence on both countries to "tell them that they should use whatever leverage they have with Hezbollah, to tell them to pull back from these kinds of actions."
U.S. Urges Syria, Iran to Stop Support for Hezbollah
CRAWFORD, Texas—The White House said Friday it was "very troubled" by Hezbollah's actions in Lebanon and urged Iran and Syria to halt their support for the Lebanese militant group.
"We have confidence in the government of Lebanon," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters in Crawford, Texas, after Hezbollah took control of the Muslim half of Beirut, tightening its grip on the city in a major blow to the U.S.-backed Lebanese government.
Lebanon Governing Coalition Blasts Hezbollah 'Coup'
BEIRUT—Lebanon's governing coalition said on Friday Hezbollah's takeover of west Beirut was an "armed coup" aimed at bringing Syria back into the country and serving Iran's interests.
"The armed and bloody coup which is being implemented aims to return Syria to Lebanon and extend Iran's reach to the Mediterranean," the coalition said in a statement read by Christian leader Samir Geagea.