Biden Visits Lebanon Ahead of Elections

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 22, 2009 6:28 AM CDT
Biden Visits Lebanon Ahead of Elections
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, right, shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, left, at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, May 22, 2009.   (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Vice President Joe Biden visited Lebanon today to reinforce US support for the government ahead of key parliamentary elections. The vote in two weeks could see a pro-Western majority ousted by a coalition led by the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah. Biden is the highest-ranking US official to visit Lebanon in more than 25 years and the second from the Obama administration in about a month, following in the footsteps of Hillary Clinton.

The attention underscores Washington's concerns about a possible win by Hezbollah. The White House said Biden's visit was meant "to reinforce the United States' support for an independent and sovereign Lebanon." Hezbollah has accused the US of interfering in the election in favor of pro-Western factions. The group said today that the visits raised "strong suspicion and amounted to a clear and detailed interference in Lebanon's affairs." (More Joe Biden stories.)

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