Syria And Lebanon Reject Foreign Interference
Syria and Lebanon rejected on Sunday any foreign interference in shaping their relations, just one day after a senior U.S. official said that Syria must withdraw its forces from Lebanon.
Syrian Information Minister Ahmad al-Hasan and his Lebanese counterpart Michel Samaha denied media reports that claimed changes in their relations or a redeployment of the 17,000 Syrian forces in Lebanon.
"All those who wish to tackle the issue of ties, from outside these two states, should know that they would be interfering in a Lebanese issue of sovereignty," Samaha told a news conference that he held with Hasan in Damascus.
On Saturday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, William Burns, said after meeting Syrian president Bashar Al Asaad, that it was time for Syria to leave Lebanon.
He also expressed “deep concern over Syrian intervention” in its neighbor’s political process.
Syrian Information Minister said that pressure on Syria and Lebanon was aimed at infringing their sovereignty and the unity of their policy tracks.
Lebanese Information Minister said that Burns' statement in Damascus would not affect prospects for any Syrian forces redeployment, which would be determined by the security needs and sovereign decisions of both countries.
He added that Lebanon might even call for greater Syrian troop deployment in case of a foreign security threat.
"In that case we shield ourselves through a sovereign decision for redeployment in another way," he said.
UN Resolution Questioned
Syrian Information Minister, Ahmad Al Hasan, questioned the legitimacy of a UN Security Council resolution- adopted earlier this month- that demands all foreign forces to quit Lebanon, for rebels to disarm and foreign governments to respect Lebanese sovereignty.