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Cablegate: Ministerial Statement Goes Public

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLB #1280/01 3381636
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041636Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6140
INFO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 3710
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1504
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 3845
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 4640
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4247
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS BEIRUT 001280

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM PTER UNSC LE IS
SUBJECT: MINISTERIAL STATEMENT GOES PUBLIC

REF: BEIRUT 1231

1. (SBU) The Lebanese Arabic-language daily newspaper
An-Nahar printed today the full Arabic text of the
ministerial statement text that will be debated by parliament
beginning December 8. Following is the Embassy's informal
translation of Articles 5-8, which deal with UN Security
Council Resolution 1701, "the resistance," Lebanon's
relations with its Arab neighbors, and the GOL's upcoming
participation on the UN Security Council.

-- Article 5: In the higher interests of Lebanon, the
Lebanese government renews its respect for international
resolutions and emphasizes the demand of the international
community for the implementation of UNSCR 1701 and for an end
to Israel's violations of it, its (Israel's) ever-present
threats, and the acts of espionage which it (Israel)
practices. The government will continue, on the basis of
this resolution, to demand a permanent cease-fire and
armistice agreement in accordance with the Taif Accord. It
will also continue in demanding that Israel compensate
Lebanon for the damage inflicted by its excessive aggression,
to release prisoners, and return the bodies of the martyrs.

-- Article 6: Based on its responsibility to protect
Lebanon's sovereignty, independence, unity, and the safety of
its territory, the government asserts the right of Lebanon,
its people, its army, and its resistance to liberate or
regain Shebaa Farms, the Lebanese Kfar Shouba Hills, and the
Lebanese part of Ghajar village, its right to defend Lebanon
against any aggression, and its right to keep its water
through all legitimate and possible means. Lebanon affirms
its commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 1701, and
all it includes, and it also affirms that it will work to
unite the position of the Lebanese through agreement on a
comprehensive national strategy for protecting Lebanon and
defending it, as endorsed by the National Dialogue.

-- Article 7: The government will work on strengthening its
relations with its Arab brothers, reinforcing the bonds that
bring us together, and energizing common Arab efforts within
the Arab League framework. The government is committed to
the course of Arab solidarity avoiding axis policies, in the
interest of all Arabs, and certainly in the interest of
Lebanon, so that it will not become a field for regional and
international conflicts but rather a sovereign, free,
independent, and stable nation for all of its children; this
is its right and an Arab need.

-- Article 8: The government will work on strengthening the
Arab and international role for Lebanon, especially through
its active presence in the United Nations and on the Security
Council, particularly given that our country's membership on
it carries a large responsibility to defend our national
rights, Arab issues, and issues of justice and peace in the
world; at the forefront of those is the issue of Palestine
and the national rights of its people to confront Israel and
its aggressive practices, its continued occupation of
Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian lands, and its violation of
international laws, including humanitarian and international
law.

2. (SBU) While the text of Article 5 is similar to the 2008
ministerial statement, the 2009 draft is expanded to include
Lebanon's assessment of Israeli violations of UNSCR 1701.
This is a significant departure from 2008 and earlier drafts
of this year's statement (reftel). An early draft text of
Article 5 read:

-- Keeping in mind Lebanon's higher interests, the Lebanese
government renews its respect for international laws and its
claims, working on the complete implementation of its
resolutions. The government will continue its demand on the
basis of UNSCR 1701 for a permanent cease-fire and truce
according to the Taif Agreement.

3. (SBU) Procedurally, to obtain a vote of confidence 65 of
128 parliamentarians (a simple majority) must vote for the
statement. Article 34 of the Lebanese constitution
stipulates that decisions taken by the parliament shall be
decided by a majority vote (half plus one), unless otherwise
stipulated. Examples of issues requiring a two-thirds
majority, include, but are not limited to, amending the
constitution, election of the president, and cases of
impeachment.

DAUGHTON

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