'Friends of Lebanon' call for immediate elections

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'Friends of Lebanon' call for immediate elections

Post by Admin on Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:35 pm

The
political crisis in Lebanon was discussed on the sidelines of a
conference on Iraq on Tuesday, while the Lebanese parliament failed to
elect a president for the eighteenth consecutive try.


French
Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his Syrian counterpart Walid
Muallem held talks in Kuwait on Tuesday that focused on the crisis in
Lebanon. The meeting was the first since Paris suspended high-level
contacts with Damascus in December.


"We
hope relations between France and Syria would renew over Lebanon,"
Kouchner said after the meeting on the sidelines of a conference on
Iraq.


The talks covered "the situation in Lebanon," Kouchner said.

Statement of "Friends of Lebanon"

We,
the Foreign Ministers and Representatives of Egypt, France, Germany,
Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates,
the United Kingdom, and the United States together with the Secretary
General of the Arab League, the Secretary General of the Council of the
European Union and the Secretary General of the United Nations, joined
a ministerial representative of the government of Lebanon today to
exchange views on how best to support the sovereignty, territorial
integrity, unity, and political independence of a secure, democratic,
and economically prosperous Lebanon characterized by confessional
harmony and loyalty among its citizens. A stable Lebanon will give a
positive impetus on peace and international security in the wider
region and beyond.


We
remain strongly committed to supporting the legitimate Lebanese
government and the democratic institutions of the country as they work
to achieve this shared vision for Lebanon.


We
are deeply dismayed at the ongoing political stalemate. We call for the
immediate election of the consensual candidate General Sleiman as
president without prior conditions, the establishment of a national
unity government, and the holding of general elections in conformity
with an electoral law agreed by all parties, in accordance with the
Arab League plan. We call for inter-Lebanese political dialogue,
specifically through Lebanese constitutional institutions.


Lebanese
institutions, like the presidency, cabinet, parliament, armed forces,
and security services, provide the backbone for a sovereign, secure,
and prosperous state. We reiterate our full support for the Lebanese
government in its efforts to preserve the stability of the country and
to provide prosperity for the Lebanese people - from all confessions
and all regions of the country.


We
call on all parties inside and outside Lebanon to respect Lebanon's
independence and sovereignty. Three years after Syria's military
withdrawal from Lebanon, time has come for Syria and Lebanon to
redefine and normalize ties between these two historically close
neighbors in mutual respect for their sovereignty, territorial
integrity, and political independence. In this context, the
establishment of full diplomatic relations between Lebanon and Syria,
the delineation of their shared border, and a commitment not to permit
the use of their respective territories to destabilize the other would
constitute significant steps to secure peace and stability in the
region.


We
welcome the Arab League's commitment to address Lebanese-Syrian
relations as part of the Arab League's initiative. In this context, we
have taken note of Prime Minister Siniora's call to address and resolve
these issues. We hope that all parties will work towards that goal.


Mindful
of Prime Minister Siniora's Seven Points of July 2006, we reaffirm the
importance of full implementation of the Taef agreement, all UN
Security Council resolutions pertaining to Lebanon, including
resolutions 1559, 1680, 1701, and 1757, as well as the implementation
of the Arab initiative.



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