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U.S. House officials arrive in Beirut

BEIRUT, Lebanon, May 27 (UPI) -- A delegation from the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs arrived in Lebanon Wednesday to express support for democracy ahead of June elections.

Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, led a Democratic delegation in what is a series of high-level visits to Beirut.

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Lebanon holds parliamentary elections June 7. The outcome of the elections will have a dramatic impact on U.S.-Lebanese relations as the March 8 coalition, which includes Hezbollah, is expected to take a slim majority over the pro-Western March 14 slate.

Washington has expressed reservations over its continued support for the Lebanese government if March 8 takes control of the government.

The Lebanese military receives substantial financial and material support from Washington, and the U.S. Agency for International Development delivered a $1 million check to the Lebanese American University in coordination with the Ackerman visit.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Beirut last week in the first visit by a sitting vice president in nearly 30 years. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stopped over in Beirut earlier this year as part of a broader Middle East tour.

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