France denies meddling in Lebanese affairs

20th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 20, 2006 (AFP) - France on Monday rejected a Syrian accusation that it was working with anti-Syrian political forces in Lebanon in a bid to oust the country's embattled head of state.

PARIS, Feb 20, 2006 (AFP) - France on Monday rejected a Syrian accusation that it was working with anti-Syrian political forces in Lebanon in a bid to oust the country's embattled head of state.

"France does not interfere in Lebanon's internal affairs," a foreign ministry spokesman said in response to the charge, which was made by an unnamed official in the office of President Emile Lahoud.

"Its action is aimed on the contrary at stopping foreign interference in the country and allowing the Lebanese to recover their full sovereignty and independence in line with UN resolution 1559," said the spokesman, Denis Simonneau.

The official from Lahoud's office has accused French President Jacques Chirac of personally supervising a group working with the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority to push the president out of office.

Lahoud has been under severe pressure ever since Lebanese security officials close to him were arrested over the murder of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and a UN probe accused his Syrian allies of involvement in the killing.

The anti-Syrian parliamentary majority late Thursday gave the president a month-long deadline to resign.

But Lahoud, effectively boycotted by France since his extension, has repeatedly vowed to serve out his full term.

France had already angered the president's supporters by co-sponsoring with the United States a series of Security Council resolutions critical of Syria and its Lebanese allies.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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