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Cablegate: Tfle01: Siniora Convokes Diplomatic Corps To

VZCZCXRO6583
PP RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHKUK RUEHLZ
DE RUEHLB #2429 2011649
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201649Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4717
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 0652
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS BEIRUT 002429

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/SINGH/HARDING
LONDON FOR TSOU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MOPS EAID PTER PREF LE IS
SUBJECT: TFLE01: SINIORA CONVOKES DIPLOMATIC CORPS TO
DENOUNCE ISRAELI CAMPAIGN, CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT

SUMMARY
-------

1. (U) In a terse but emotionally-tinged 7/19 address to the
diplomatic corps, Prime Minister Siniora demanded an
immediate end to hostilities between Hizballah and the
Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), a lifting of the Israeli naval
blockade, and delivery of urgently-needed humanitarian
assistance. He blamed Israeli retaliatory attacks for having
inflicted "immeasurable" losses, and called for a redoubling
of the international commitment to Lebanon. End summary.

CABINET -- MINUS HIZBALLAH MEMBER -- IN ATTENDANCE
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (SBU) Prime Minister Siniora convoked all chiefs of
mission of the diplomatic corps to the Grand Serail on the
evening of July 19. Siniora arrived, once chiefs of mission
and others were assembled, accompanied by nearly the entire
Cabinet. A noticeable exception was Mohammad Fneish, the
minister of power and water resources and the Cabinet's sole
card-carrying member of Hizballah. Trad Hamadeh, the
minister of labor and the Cabinet's non-card-carrying
Hizballah supporter, was present.

CEASE FIRE, LIFT BLOCKADE, DELIVER ASSISTANCE
---------------------------------------------

3. (U) Siniora read a prepared address to the chiefs of
mission, in which he called for an immediate cease-fire
between Hizballah and the IDF, the lifting of Israel's
blockade of the Lebanese coast, and the delivery of
humanitarian assistance to those parts of Lebanon, "my war
ravaged country," affected by current conflict. (Note: Post
has e-mailed the text to NEA/ELA-Lebanon desk and Task Force
One).

ADDING UP THE COSTS SO FAR
--------------------------

4. (U) The past week of conflict had led to "immeasurable"
losses in Lebanon, Siniora said. Some 300 people had been
killed, and 1,000 more had been injured. By his estimate,
more than 500,000 people had been internally displaced. The
problem was further compounded by overwhelmed hospitals and
dwindling supplies of food and medicine, he said.

5. (U) Siniora also called attention to the shelling of
facilities of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), the Joint
Security Force (an amalgam of the LAF and gendarmerie charged
with patrolling southern Lebanon), the civil defense, and the
UN. "The country has been torn to shreds," he said. "Can
the international community stand by while such callous
retribution by the State of Israel is inflicted on us?"

6. (U) Regarding Israeli attacks, Siniora asked,
rhetorically, "Is this what the international community calls
self defense? Is this the price we pay for aspiring to build
our democratic institutions? Is this the message to send to
the country of diversity, freedom and tolerance?"

CALL FOR REDOUBLED COMMITTMENT TO LEBANON
-----------------------------------------

7. (U) Referring to the international support shown for
Lebanese sovereignty after the February 2005 assassination of
former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Siniora asked (and
repeated for emphasis), "You want to support the government
of Lebanon?" "No government can survive on the ruins of a
nation," he added.

8. (U) Siniora concluded by telling the assembled diplomats,
"I hope you will not let us down." The event, having lasted
less than a quarter of an hour, then concluded.
FELTMAN

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