France calls for a ‘free’ government in Lebanon

21st October 2004, Comments 0 comments

BEIRUT, Oct 20 (AFP) - The United States and France said Wednesday that the government that replaces outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri should be able to make political decisions free of foreign interference.

BEIRUT, Oct 20 (AFP) - The United States and France said Wednesday that the government that replaces outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri should be able to make political decisions free of foreign interference.

"The new government should be able to take decisions, free of foreign interference," said US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman after a visit to Hariri, who resigned earlier Wednesday and refused to head the next government.

Hariri's move came amid international pressure on powerful neighbour Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon and end political domination of its smaller neighbour.

The new government "should be composed of strong individuals who have credibility and integrity, who are willing to exercise freedom of action, who share a powerful vision about Lebanon's future," Feltman told reporters.

"The United States and international partners want to see a Lebanese government that can address the needs of Lebanon, and a government that is truly representative of the will of the Lebanese people," he said.

"We hope that the current government consultations will result in the type of credible, democratic and visionary Lebanese government that can move this country forward,"

"I assure you that a government that can move Lebanon in this direction will have the full support of the United States and its international partners."

Feltman said "this new Lebanese government should ... (respect) Lebanon's democratic traditions, and that is what UN Security Council Resolution 1559 is all about."

He was referring to the September 2 resolution, sponsored by the United States and France, which called on foreign forces to pull out of Lebanon and to respect the country' sovereignty, in a clear reference to Syria.

French Ambassador in Beirut Phillippe Lecourtier also visited Hariri at his house where he said "we have a clear objective: the good of Lebanon, that the country be prosperous and free to make its own decisions."

"It should be free to make its own political decisions," he told reporters.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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