Change in status quo needed in Mideast
The immediate problem
- Hezbollah ending its attacks on Israel
- The return of Israeli soldiers taken hostage by terrorists
- Suspension of Israel’s operations in Lebanon
- Eventual withdrawal of its troops
The long term plan
- Lebanon’s government must be in power without the threat of disruptive forces to “exercise sole authority over its territory,”
- A multi-national force must be dispatched to southern Lebanon along with humanitarian aid
- Syria must “end its support for terror and respect the sovereignty of Lebanon”
- Iran must end its “financial support and supply” for Hezbollah terrorists
Bush said, “For decades, the status quo in the Middle East permitted tyranny and terror to thrive. As we saw Sept. 11, the status quo in the Middle East led to death and destruction in the United States and it had to change. So America is opposing the forces of terror and promoting the causes of democracy across the greater Middle East.”
“This task is long, it is difficult work, but it is necessary work,” Bush added.
Earlier, Bush said the United States will work with the United Nations to address “the root causes” of the conflict in the Middle East.
“We want there to be a long-lasting peace, one that is sustainable,” he told Cuban-American business leaders at a breakfast held in a Cuban-style restaurant. “I assured the people here that we will work toward a plan at the United Nations Security Council that addresses the root causes of the problem, so that whatever comes out of the Security Council will be able to last and that the people of Lebanon and Israel will be able to remain in peace. That’s what we want.”