AFP: The United States issued a new rebuke to Iran and Syria on Friday, accusing them of directing Hezbollah, as it said agreement on a UN resolution on the conflict in Lebanon was moving ever closer. WASHINGTON, Aug 4, 2006 (AFP) – The United States issued a new rebuke to Iran and Syria on Friday, accusing them of directing Hezbollah, as it said agreement on a UN resolution on the conflict in Lebanon was moving ever closer.
Top State Department official Nicholas Burns fired off the latest shot in a war of words between Tehran and Washington over the fighting, sparked on July 12 when Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers.
“What is important is all of us understand what is happening here,” Burns, under secretary of state for political affairs said in a CNN interview.
“Iran created Hezbollah in 1982. Iran has funded Hezbollah and Iran has provided the long-range rockets that are raining down on the northern part of Israel right now.”
“We have to see this conflict as not just as one between Hezbollah and Israel as a border conflict. It is a wider conflict because Iran is acting in a way that is fundamentally contrary to the hopes of all of us for stablility and peace in the Middle East.”
“It was Iran and Syria that led Hezbollah to make this attack.”
Intense diplomacy continued meanwhile at the United Nations over a resolution designed to end the fighting and provide a political framework for a lasting end to violence.
“We expect and hope that could be done by early next week. We’re working very closely with France and Britain and other allies to see if there’s a basis to do this,” Burns said.
“We want it to happen as soon as that is humanly possible,” said Burns.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had said at the end of her Middle East mission in Jerusalem on Monday that she hoped the resolution could be agreed by the end of this week.
But the timing of the package has slipped, and Rice has ordered US diplomats to work through the weekend in hopes of an agreement early next week.
“We are very close to having an agreement on all the specific language,” said State Department Sean McCormack.
McCormack also said Rice had spoken briefly with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni since Thursday.
Rice will also be discussing the crisis during the weekend when she goes to meet President George W. Bush at his ranch in Texas.