Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called home the U.S. ambassador to Syria for consultations, one day after the assassination in Lebanon of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
A White House spokesman said Ambassador Margaret Scobey met with Syrian officials Monday, and expressed "serious concerns" about Syria's behavior and its influence in Lebanon. The spokesman again called on Syria to withdraw its forces from Lebanon, calling that military presence a destabilizing force in the region.
The State Department said the U.S. diplomatic message reflects the Bush administration's "profound outrage" over the car bombing that killed Mr. Hariri and at least 14 others in Beirut.
Lebanese opposition leaders have blamed the bombing on Mr. Hariri's political opponents, including Lebanon's ruling party, which maintains close ties with Syria. Lebanese and Syrian leaders have denied involvement and have strongly condemned the attack.