Chirac 'committed' to Syria exit from Lebanon

1st October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 30 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac told Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri on Thursday that France is committed to seeing the implementation of the UN resolution calling for all foreign troops to leave the country.

PARIS, Sept 30 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac told Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri on Thursday that France is committed to seeing the implementation of the UN resolution calling for all foreign troops to leave the country.  

During their meeting Chriac emphasized "France's commitment to the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Lebanon," said Chirac's spokesman Jerome Bonnafont.  

"He repeated France's desire to see Resolution 1559 implemented," said the spokesman, referring to the resolution sponsored by France and the United States calling for an end to foreign political and military interference in Lebanon.  

Officially, Hariri's office described his trip to Paris as a "working visit" to discuss the situation in the Middle East region and bilateral relations.  

But their talks came shortly before UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is to brief the Security Council on the implementation of Resolution 1559, which specifically calls for the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon and respect for its sovereignty.  

Without even mentioning Syria by name resolution l559 was a clear message to Damascus, which dominates political life in its tiny neighbour and maintains around 15,000 troops on Lebanese soil - even after a limited military pullback started last week.  

Just a day after the resolution was adopted on September 2, Lebanon's parliament passed a controversial Syrian-inspired change to its constitution to allow Damascus protege President Emile Lahoud to serve another three-year term - drawing sharp criticism in Washington and Paris.  

The resolution has put a strain on ties between Damascus and Paris, the former mandatory power in both Syria and Lebanon.  

Syria's official Ath-Thawra daily said on Sunday it hoped that the "misunderstanding" with France would be cleared up soon.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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