LEBANON - May 16 - US Blocks $35M Aid.
The US House of Representatives blocks $35m in aid to Beirut in the
latest blow for the government of Rafik Hariri. The House vote - which
needs ratification by the Senate - would prevent the transfer of the
remainder $50m package. (Pres. Bush has supported Hariri's effort
to win international assistance to ease the burden of the $25 bn public
debt. But Washington has also demanded that Beirut deploy troops along
its southern border, a region vacated by Israel in May 2000. The
government works closely with Syria, which seeks a pressure-point to
help return the Golan, part of Syria occupied by Israel since 1967.
Damascus backs Hizbollah, the Lebanese resistance movement, in
continuing attacks on Israeli forces in Shebaa Farms - an area on the
Lebanese-Syria border occupied by Israel - where Hizbollah has killed
three Israeli soldiers and captured three others. Hizbollah's
attacks at Israeli forces in Shebaa Farms continued this week,
triggering fierce Israeli retaliation - see Arabs-Israel).