Lebanese PM protests Canada's position

By BILL GLADSTONE / JTA
August 23, 2006 00:10
1 minute read.

 
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Lebanon's prime minister criticized his Canadian counterpart's support for Israel during the conflict with Hizbullah, and stressed Canada could do a better job of supporting Lebanon. Fuad Saniora said he was particularly upset with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's declaration that Israel's bombardment of southern Lebanon was a "measured response" to the kidnapping of IDF soldiers by Hizbullah. "They could see what a crime the Israelis have made against Lebanon and against humanity," Saniora told Radio Canada after a Monday meeting with three Canadian opposition parliamentarians touring Lebanon. "This is what you call a measured response?" Saniora said the rest of the world found the action disproportionate and that Canada could do a better job of supporting Lebanon, both politically and in terms of humanitarian aid. The criticism is the latest diplomatic and political wrinkle for Harper, a Conservative whose handling of the Lebanon crisis has come under fire by many in Canada. When the fighting broke out in July, many claimed the government dragged its heals during the evacuation of foreign nationals from Lebanon and did little but express displeasure when a Canadian extended family of eight was killed during the IAF bombardment in the south. Saniora's comments come in the midst of a controversy in Canada over comments by Canadian MPs touring Lebanon. Borys Wrzesnewskyj of the Liberal Party, Bloc Quebecois' MP Maria Mourani and New Democrat MP Peggy Nash arrived in Lebanon last Friday on the trip organized by National Council on Canada-Arab Relations. The group came under fire after Wrzesnewskyj was quoted in some newspaper reports Monday saying Hizbullah should be removed from Ottawa's official list of terrorist organizations. Wrzesnewskyj denied the reports, saying while he believed the group's designation should remain unchanged, he favored amending Canadian laws that forbid contact with known terrorist groups. Wrzesnewskyj said the law undermined efforts to seek lasting peace between Israel and Hizbullah. Saniora said he opposed the inclusion of Hizbullah on the Canadian list of terrorist organizations. "These terms are not helpful," the he said.

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