US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in Washington on Tuesday that the Lebanese need to elect leaders who will be able to deal with what she calls the threat of a spillover from the Syrian crisis.
“We support the efforts of President (Michel) Sleiman and other responsible leaders in Lebanon to build an effective government and to take the necessary next steps in the wake of the October 19th terrorist attack,” she said.
“President Sleiman is engaged in discussions with all parties to form a new government. We support that process,” Nuland added. “In the interim, we don’t want to see a vacuum.”
“The export of instability from Syria threatens the security of Lebanon now more than ever, and it’s really up to the Lebanese people to choose a government that is going to counter this threat,” she stated.
On October 19, a car bomb blast in Beirut’s eastern Ashrafiya district killed at least eight people and injured scores of others. The intelligence chief of Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces, General Wissam al-Hassan, was also among those killed in the blast.
The blast was the first major bomb attack in Beirut since 2008. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the government was trying to identify the perpetrators and that they would be punished.