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U.S. supports new Lebanese government coalition, spokeswoman says

From Saad Abedine, CNN
updated 6:28 AM EDT, Wed October 24, 2012
Lebanese army commandos deploy to Tripoli where clashes took place between Sunnis and Alawites on October 23, 2012.
Lebanese army commandos deploy to Tripoli where clashes took place between Sunnis and Alawites on October 23, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. State Department: "We don't want a vacuum of a legitimate political authority"
  • "The export of instability from Syria threatens the security of Lebanon, a spokeswoman says
  • Lebanon's intelligence chief was killed in a car bombing last week

(CNN) -- Four days after Lebanon's intelligence chief was killed in a car bombing, the United States said it will back the Lebanese opposition's call for a new cabinet free of Syrian influence.

The United States is helping Lebanon investigate Friday's deadly car bombing in Beirut that killed intelligence chief Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan.

What you need to know about Lebanon, Syria

Al-Hassan was a critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and some have blamed the Syrian government for his death.

Sunni-Shia tensions after sniper attack
See moment of Beirut car bomb explosion

On Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland addressed the U.S. role in the area.

"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," Nuland said. "And in that regard, we've been making clear that we support the efforts of President (Michel) Suleiman 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."

Instability feared in Lebanon after assassination

While the United States does not want a vacuum of a legitimate political authority, "we do support this process that is now underway to produce a new government that's responsive to the needs of the Lebanese people."

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