Biden visit is 'bid to meddle'

2009-05-22 12:12

Beirut - US Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Lebanon on Friday is a clear bid by Washington to meddle in the country's internal affairs just two weeks before crucial elections, Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah told AFP.

"It appears that this visit is part of a US bid to supervise the electoral campaign of a Lebanese party which feels threatened politically ... in light of the expected outcome of the legislative vote," Fadlallah said.

He was making a clear reference to the current US-backed majority in parliament which stands to lose in the upcoming June 7 vote to a Hezbollah-led coalition backed by Syria and Iran.

"We call on all Lebanese, regardless of their political views, to rise up against such meddling which represents a flagrant violation of Lebanese sovereignty," he added.

His comments came just before Biden was due to arrive in Beirut in the second such high-level visit by a US official in a month.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in April urged the Lebanese to hold free and fair elections.

Hezbollah at the time also criticised her visit.

Fadlallah said Biden's trip will "negatively affect those betting once again on US support which, under the arrogant Bush administration, was unable to break the will of the Lebanese".

He added that Biden's visit is part of US efforts to impose its views on the government that will be set up after the elections.

"They are tracing red lines for the future government," he said. "We will rise up to this."

The Shi'ite militant group, which fought a devastating war with Israel in 2006, is considered a terrorist organisation by Washington.