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Lebanese Justice Minister lauds Saudi support, comments on Syria ties, UN resolution, says Lebanon is pampered child of international community


BBC Worldwide Monitoring translation of the August 27,  2006 interview with Lebanese Justice Minister Charles Rizq, published by the London-based newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat

[Posted 31 August 2006]

This interview is discussed in the article "Lebanon's Bankruptcy and UN Treachery: The Shebaa Farms Mock-Dispute," by Jared Israel

NB: The text in italics is BBC Monitoring's introduction; all notes in brackets added by BBC Monitoring -- TENC

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Lebanese minister lauds Saudi support, comments on Syria ties, UN resolution,  BBC Monitoring Middle East - Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, August 29, 2006 Tuesday, 1286 words

Text of report on interview with Lebanese Justice Minister Charles Rizq by Yusuf Diyab, in Beirut; date not given; entitled: "Lebanese justice minister tells Al-Sharq al-Awsat: Saudi support for Lebanon enhanced its unity; what this government achieved has not been achieved since independence"; published by London-based newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat website on 27 August [2006]

Lebanese Justice Minister Charles Rizq said that the state has emerged from the tragedy of the Israeli war stronger than any other time in the past, thanks to national unity and the absolute Arab support, especially from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose support contributed to internal unity in Lebanon.

He said that the current government is a national unity government. What was achieved by this government within one year has not been achieved by all the successive governments since independence. These achievements are led by deploying the army in the territory of the south, after it had been kept away from this territory since 1969; putting the Shab'a Farms on the agenda of the [UN] Security Council; and making Lebanon the pampered son of the international community. He added that Resolution 1701, although it was not perfect, was the best way out to confront the Israeli war on Lebanon.

In an interview with Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Rizq said the Lebanese are "experiencing a state of unity, more than at any other time in the past. The truth is that all the Lebanese know that the recent Israeli war was against Lebanese society - its children, women and old people - more than it was against the Hezbollah fighters. The proof is the number of martyrs, whose number has exceeded 1,200, most of them children and women." He added that this means that Israel "has compensated for its military loss on the front by committing massacres against civilians and innocent people".

He said that "the absolute Arab support for Lebanon, especially from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which stood by Lebanon, contributed to national unity inside [Lebanon]". He noted that Saudi Arabia "had been at the forefront of the sisterly [Arab] states supporting Lebanon all the time and on every occasion, based on its pioneering role that always seeks to maintain Arab unity. It was, and still is, the Arab point of reference that is characterized by its sobriety and wisdom and that constitutes strong evidence of the deep Arab roots, which we share with it. We have always counted on its help on all levels."

The justice minister rejected all the ideas and views that spoke about Arab cover for the Israeli aggression against Lebanon. He said that "Arab solidarity was enhanced during the aggression. This solidarity was manifested at the [Arab] foreign ministers' conference, which was held in Beirut in the heat of the battle and which ended in the departure of [an Arab] delegation for New York, where a diplomatic battle took place at the UN Security Council. The Arab delegation had a key and effective role in supporting the Lebanese delegation."

On what is being said, to the effect that Lebanon has achieved a victory in confronting Israel militarily, in the light of the destruction sustained by Lebanon, Rizq said: "Israel's mere failure to achieve any progress or reach its goals is a victory for Lebanon. We are not here making calculations of who lost and who won. However, there is a stronger establishment: that is, the establishment of the state has emerged from the heart of the tragedy we went through. Also, the concept of this state was united in confronting the aggression. Despite their different affiliations, all cabinet members, including the ministers of Hezbollah, were united and acted as one bloc in front of the aggression and in the search for political ways out to end this aggression. This was manifested in the government's consensus on the seven-point plan, and this strengthened our position in the political battle in front of the Security Council."

The justice minister said that although Resolution 1701 ignores a number of clauses in the government's seven points, "it was the best [resolution] we could come up with to face this crisis. Regrettably, however, Israel continues to hinder the implementation of the international resolution, starting with its first and key clause, which has to do with the cessation of hostilities... [ellipses as published] It has continued to violate Lebanese air space and territorial waters and it has remained in positions within Lebanese territories, hindering the deployment of the Lebanese army in the south in implementation of this resolution. In addition, it continues to impose a blockade on Beirut airport and the Lebanese ports. As you know, we have been accustomed to Israel's non-respect for international resolutions since its creation."

Rizq said that the Lebanese government is determined to implement all clauses of Resolution 1701, "with broad Arab support, especially from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, given the broad influence it has on the decision-making countries to put pressure on Israel so as to comply with the international will and implement the resolution fully". At the same time, he commended the decision of French President Jacques Chirac on France's participation in the international forces with 2,000 soldiers. He said that this suggests that "guarantees have been given to implement the resolution".

On the demands of some Western countries to deploy international forces on the Lebanese-Syrian border to prevent the flow of weapons to Hezbollah, the Lebanese justice minister rejected the notion that "the measures on the border with the sisterly state, Syria, should be similar to the measures on the border with the enemy, Israel." He said: "Some clouds might form over Lebanese-Syrian relations, but I am confident that these clouds will soon disappear because a brother remains a brother, despite everything. I think that the talk about international forces between us and Syria is due to a misunderstanding. The Lebanese government rejects the idea of the presence of international forces on the border with Syria, because this border is under Lebanese sovereignty only. However, this border needs monitoring, just like the border between any two brotherly [Arab] countries. This is not done by international forces, but is done by the Lebanese army and by sophisticated equipment. We are in contact with Germany for the purpose of supplying us with electronic equipment, like cameras and other equipment, for surveillance."

On his opinion of the demands of some independent Lebanese parties for the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Fu'ad al-Sanyurah and the formation of a national unity government, which includes all the political forces that are not represented in this government, Rizq said: "The current government is a national unity government. I think that, since the independence, no government has achieved what has been achieved by this government, most important of which is the return of the Lebanese army to the south... [ellipses as published] This is in addition to what it has achieved on the administrative level, as well as setting up international relations, which were a source of strength for Lebanon. During the term of this government, Lebanon has become the pampered son of the international community and the UN recently."

The Lebanese justice minister said that putting the issue of the Shab'a Farms on the agenda of the Security Council is a "great achievement". He said that the most important item on the agenda of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who will begin his tour of the region within hours, is discussing the issue of the Shab'a Farms.

Copyright 2006 British Broadcasting Corporation * Published by TENC for Fair Use Only

  
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