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Ex-Lebanese leader urges Syria to end intervention

Ex-Lebanese leader urges Syria to end intervention
Published: Friday, 14 April, 2006, 10:58 AM Doha Time

Amin Gemayel
By Anwar al-Khateeb

The Former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel has called for an end to Syrian intervention in the internal affairs of his country.

He said Syria was not interested in finding a solution to Lebanon’s problems. “Syria believes Lebanon is not yet ready to move to another stage.”

Commenting on calls for the Syrian backed President Emile Lahoud to step down, he said that Damascus was very much involved in Lebanese affairs by supporting Lahoud and imposing direct influence on the Shias in the country.

When asked about foreign intervention in his country’s internal affairs, the veteran politician said that he appreciated “advices” coming from abroad but he stood against “direct dictations” as in the case of the Syrian involvement.

Gemayel, who is in Doha to take part in the Democracy and Free Trade conference, said Syria can contribute to Lebanon’s stability by taking steps as demarcating bilateral borders, co-operating in the investigation on the assassination of the former Lebanese premier Rafiq al-Hariri and exchange of diplomats.

The former Lebanese President urged Syria to change the UN records and announce Sheba’a farms as occupied Lebanese territory. “Without such a step, the resistance against the Israeli occupation will be unjustified and illegal from an international point of view,” the Lebanese leader said.

Gemayel said that President Lahoud was unable to discharge the presidential responsibilities in accordance with Lebanese tradition and Constitution. He said if Lahoud stayed in office for the rest of his term, that would be at the expense of the country’s international relations.

He said he has no alternatives in the meantime for the presidency, saying that the protests against Lahoud will continue until the aim is achieved.

Gemayel (64) was Lebanese President from 1982 to 1988 before he went into exile in the US and France from where he led the anti-Syrian parties. He came back to Beirut in July 2000 and resumed political activity.

On the disarmament of the Palestinians living in refugee camps in Lebanon, he stressed that the weapons should stay “in the first stage” inside the camps under the supervision of the Lebanese Army.

“There can be only one sovereign authority in a country that ensures the security, dignity and welfare of its people.”

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