'Syria must stop backing destabilizing forces'

France and Germany on Tuesday urged Syria to stop supporting forces that "want to destabilize Lebanon" and the Middle East. Syria can hope for "normal relations with the international community, particularly the countries of the European Union" if it changes its stance, according to a joint statement issued at a meeting between French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. France and Germany "want Syria no longer to support forces that want to destabilize Lebanon and the region, and to build a relationship of equals with Lebanon, within whose framework the sovereignty of each side is respected," it said. It did not mention Hizbullah by name, but during a visit to Syria on Monday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed Damascus to use its influence to moderate the group's demands.