BEIRUT: Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani on Sunday stressed his country's commitment to support the Lebanese in strengthening their national unity and steadfastness in the face of pressures their country is facing. Sheikh Hamad made his comments after meeting President Emile Lahoud in Doha. Lahoud arrived in Qatar Sunday morning on an official visit.
The emir stressed that agreement among the Lebanese is a pivotal and essential ingredient for Lebanon to return to being a "beacon for the East and a gateway to the West."
Sheikh Hamad said that for the Lebanese to remain in disagreement harms Lebanon politically, economically and socially, affirming Qatar's support for all efforts geared toward uniting the Lebanese.
Both heads of state also discussed regional developments, the results of the recent Arab League summit in Riyadh, stressing the importance of collective Arab action and the complete implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative.
Lahoud said after the meeting that external interference in Lebanese affairs scuttled internal dialogue, adding that if the Lebanese were left to their own devices they would find no difficulty in reaching accord and understanding on all issues.
Lahoud said establishing the international tribunal to try suspects in former premier Rafik Hariri's murder under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter would result in the politicization of the tribunal, whereas what is required is for politics to be kept out of the tribunal in order to find and punishing the criminals behind the political assassinations in the country.
The president praised the emir for his support of Lebanon and its people after last summer's war with Israel as an opportunity to affirm the two countries' "brotherly, cooperative and supportive relationship."
Lahoud said he was honored to accept the invitation to visit Doha due to the high esteem with which Sheikh Hamad is held in the hearts of the Lebanese, "who remember with great appreciation the major role Sheikh Hamad has played in supporting Lebanon, its people and its just and fair causes."
Both former Prime Minister Salim Hoss and resigned Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh, left for Qatar Sunday afternoon to attend the Seventh Democracy, Development and Free Trade Forum. - The Daily Star