French minister steps up pressure on Syria

18th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 17 (AFP) - French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie on Thursday called for Lebanon to regain its "full sovereignty", stepping up pressure on Syria to withdraw its troops and end its domination of Beirut.

PARIS, Feb 17 (AFP) - French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie on Thursday called for Lebanon to regain its "full sovereignty", stepping up pressure on Syria to withdraw its troops and end its domination of Beirut.

"What we want is for Lebanon to regain its sovereignty, its full sovereignty, in all its forms," Alliot-Marie told France Info radio, four days after the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.

The French minister called Hariri's killing "a significant shock for the entire Lebanese population, a population that has suffered through so much for years, which needs to find itself and to regain its sovereignty".

Since the slaying of Hariri in a Beirut car bomb attack, the international community has increased pressure on Damascus to withdraw its 14,000 troops from Lebanon and end its political domination of its tiny neighbour.

The UN Security Council on Tuesday called on all parties to fulfil the French- and US-sponsored Resolution 1559 passed in September, which demands a Syrian pullout and an end to outside interference in Lebanon's affairs.

In Beirut on Tuesday to pay his condolences to Hariri's family, French President Jacques Chirac demanded that "light be shed" on the killing of his close friend.

Alliot-Marie told France Info she was confident that an international inquiry requested by Chirac would be established to look into Hariri's killing.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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