Syria: US interference threatens Lebanon's stability

In letter to UN's Ban Ki-moon, Damascus claims it has not been meddling in presidential elections.

October 19, 2007 15:16
1 minute read.
Syria: US interference threatens Lebanon's stability

Saniora 298. (photo credit: )


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Syria accused the United States of interfering in Lebanese internal politics, saying its bias for one side against the other threatens Lebanon's security and stability. In a letter sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and published by the state-run news agency Thursday night, Syria said it respected Lebanese sovereignty and independence and was not interfering in Lebanon's presidential elections. "The well known blatant foreign interference by a superpower, which has so far deepened divisions between the Lebanese ... poses a direct threat to Lebanon's security and stability because it [the US] is clearly and openly siding with one Lebanese side after the other," the letter said. Washington has backed Lebanon's anti-Syrian government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, which has been locked in a months-long power struggle with the opposition, led by Hizbullah, an ally of Syria and Iran. In the letter, Syria launched a scathing attack on Saniora and other anti-Syrian leaders in Lebanon, accusing them of "harming Syria's image" and provoking Western countries against it. The Lebanese parliament failed to elect a president last month because of a boycott by the opposition, aimed at preventing Saniora's allies from installing an anti-Syrian candidate in the presidency. Lawmakers have been unsuccessful so far in efforts to reach agreement on a consensus candidate. The parliament has scheduled another session on October 23 to choose a successor to President Emile Lahoud, who steps down November 24. Government supporters accuse Syria of seeking to eliminate Saniora's small majority in parliament before the election by targeting members of the ruling coalition for assassination. Eight prominent anti-Syrian figures have been killed in Lebanon since 2005. Damascus has denied any involvement in the slayings. US President George W. Bush warned Syria last month against interfering in Lebanon's presidential elections.

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