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Bush declares Hezbollah loser in Lebanon conflict

The US president also blamed Iran and Syria for fomenting the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2006 14:10 IST

President George W Bush has said that Hezbollah guerrillas suffered a sound defeat at the hands of Israel in their month-long West Asia war.

"There's going to be a new power in the south of Lebanon," Bush said just hours after a ceasefire took hold on Monday, referring to plans for the Lebanese government, backed by an international force, to reassert control in the area that has been dominated by Hezbollah fighters.

The president also said the war was part of a broader struggle between freedom and terror and he blamed Iran and Syria for fomenting the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

"We can only imagine how much more dangerous this conflict would be if Iran had the nuclear weapon it seeks," the president said.

Bush said Iran and Syria were the primary sponsors of Hezbollah guerrillas who captured two Israeli soldiers, igniting the battle with Israel.

More than 900 people were killed in the fighting, and there was massive destruction in southern Lebanon.

Bush said the "responsibility for this suffering lies with Hezbollah."

The president spoke at the State Department after conferring with his national security team, first at the Defence Department and then at the State Department.

He was flanked by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Bush said the UN Ceasefire resolution was "an important step forward that will help bring an end to the violence.

First Published: Aug 15, 2006 14:10 IST