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Rice to Visit Mideast as Israel Readies Ground Forces

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The Sec. of State says a cease fire would be a "false promise" and would "guarantee future violence." She also reiterated the White House position that Hezbollah is a terrorist organziation and that Israel has a right to defend itself...

Wanna feel melancholy/hopeless? Check out this report for more details on Rice's impossible situation.

When a questioner asked how much Secretary Rice hoped to accomplish in the conferences, given the fact that the United States considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization and does not communicate with Syria, she replied somewhat indirectly.

"First of all, Syria knows what it needs to do, and Hezbollah is the source of the problem," she said.

The United States withdrew its ambassador to Syria after Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated in February 2005. Syria had been deeply involved in internal Lebanese affairs for years and, while it denied any role in the assassination, the ensuing uproar forced Damascus to withdraw its troops from Lebanon.

"The Syrians have to make a choice," Ms. Rice said. "Do they really wish to be associated with the circumstances that help extremism to grow in the region, or are they going to be a part of what is clearly a consensus of the major Arab states in the region that extremism is one of the problems here?"

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