Lebanon rejects plan to ease tensions with Syria

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January 18, 2006 19:47
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Lebanon's prime minister on Wednesday appeared to reject an Arab mediation plan to ease tensions with Syria, saying it did not address Beirut's claims that Damascus was behind a series of assassinations and bombings that rocked the tiny country last year. Fuad Saniora said the reported Saudi plan "does not fulfill Lebanese aspirations" and that the "ideas" relayed by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal "do not solve the current problems." "There are steps that must be taken. In the beginning I stress the security issue, which is a cessation of killings," the prime minister told reporters. He was referring to last year's bomb attacks in Lebanon, including the one that killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The purported Saudi plan, which has never been made public but has been spoken of by Arab diplomats and reported in the Arab media, is said to be based on Syrian proposals that, among other things, call for joint security coordination between Beirut and Damascus, diplomatic recognition and demarcation of their shared border.

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