May 22nd, 2009
08:15 PM ET
14 years ago

Biden: U.S. aid at risk if Lebanon strays from 'principles'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Vice President Joe Biden arrives Friday at the presidential palace outside Beirut, Lebanon."]BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) - The United States backs Lebanon's democratic process, but U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden warned Friday the United States will reconsider its assistance to the country if its next government strays from certain "fundamental principles."

He spoke shortly after arriving in Beirut, a visit that comes two weeks before a key vote there that could usher in a Hezbollah-dominated government.

"I do not come here to back any political party or any particular person," Biden said at a joint news conference with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman.

"The shape and composition of Lebanon's government is for the Lebanese people to decide, to state the obvious."

However, the United States "will evaluate the shape of our assistance programs based on the composition of the new government and the policies it advocates," Biden said.

Biden urged those Lebanese "who would think about standing with the spoilers of peace not to miss this opportunity to walk away from the spoilers."

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