ArDO: Yes we want Lebanon to be the Switzerland of the East and Beirut the Paris of the East

Press Release from Lebanese Diaspora Organizations and Clubs

 For Immediate Release

Toronto – Canada

August 28, 2006

Yes to Deployment of UN Forces on Lebanese-Syrian Border

No to Kofi Annan’s Proposals Replicated from the Food-for-Oil Iraq Program


We, the undersigned Lebanese Diaspora activists, and on behalf of the organizations and clubs we represent, welcome UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s visit  to Lebanon, which is expected to begin today Monday, and wish his endeavors the success they deserve. However, we ask the Secretary General to remain within the bounds of his mandate and not graft onto resolution 1701 similar mechanisms to those he employed in the food-for-oil program in Iraq. We draw the attention of the international community, the Arab countries, the Lebanese government and all those concerned with Lebanon to the following facts, cautions and demands:

 1 – Since the independence of Lebanon, Syria never recognized the right of Lebanon to exist as an independent sovereign State. Syria, continuously and without exception, related to Lebanon from a standpoint of superiority, hatred, envy and meanness. Syria has been, and continues to be, behind all of Lebanon’s problems and crises, the big and small wars on its soil, and the suffering of its people. Syria continues to nurture outlaw organizations operating on Lebanese soil and seeks to destabilize and maintain insecurity, while holding in its prisons hundreds of Lebanese nationals who were seized illegally in Lebanon and held without due process. Therefore, the deployment of international forces along the borders of Lebanon with Syria to support the Lebanese Army in monitoring and interdicting the cross-border infiltration of people and the smuggling of weapons is of the utmost importance, if not the most important element in stabilizing and pacifying Lebanon. Without such a deployment, there will be no stability or security in Lebanon, the country will remain an arena for the wars of others, and its people will remain the fodder for these wars.

 2 – The hesitation and caution which have characterized the positions of the European Union and other countries participating in the international force vis-à-vis their deployment in the Lebanese South are due for the most part to the fact that resolution 1701 was not passed under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, nor did it specify the authority or the mechanisms of engagement of these forces with the rogue armed elements of Hezbollah and others.

 It was only subsequently that an agreement was reached over such an authority to compensate for the deficit in the resolution, as stated by France’s Foreign Minister when he asserted that the international force will act to interdict and seize all illegal weapons south of the Litani River. However, Mr. Annan took the unwarranted and dubious step of declaring that the international force is not mandated with disarming Hezbollah, as if Mr. Annan is operating according to his own private agenda that includes the protection and the legitimization of the military role of the fundamentalist party.  We strongly denounce this position which requires clarification by Mr. Annan.  Also, any meeting between Mr. Annan and Mr. Hassan Nasrallah that takes place outside the framework of Hezbollah scheduling the surrender of its weapons and abandoning its culture of hatred, violence and terror, is a prelude to scuttling the efforts of the United Nations, voiding the UN resolutions of their substance, and legitimizing a fundamentalist organization.

 3 – We urge the Lebanese government to make up its mind on the weapons of Hezbollah and the role of this fundamentalist military party, by adopting a clear and resolute position on this issue without the semantics, the ambiguities and equivocation that have characterized the positions of previous Lebanese governments. The government must clearly and publicly state that the Lebanese Army, with the support of the international force, will immediately begin collecting all illegal weapons from all Lebanese and Palestinian militia organizations – including Hezbollah – everywhere on Lebanese soil.

 4 – Any delay, postponement or stalling on a final resolution to the issue of the illegal weapons will bring Lebanon back to the situation prior to this past July 12 and to the status quo of the militia mini-states within the Lebanese state and the duality in the decision-making on vital issues, foremost of which is the decision of war and peace which remains, in spite of all the developments, in the hands of Hezbollah, the Iranian appendage in its ideology, funding, arming and decision-making.

 5 – We urge the Lebanese leadership to transcend their own personal and immediate interests and influence-peddling to the benefit of the higher interests of the nation and the security of its citizens. We remind them that history does not forgive the opportunists and those who waver in their positions in dealing with the existence, the identity and the freedom of Lebanon. They have been forewarned.

 Signatories of the release

Dr. Joseph Hitti/ New England Americans For Lebanon (NEAL)

Ghabi Galo/Aramic Democratic Organization (Ardo)

Colonel Charbel Barakat/Free World Lebanese Cultural Union (FWLCU)-Canadian Chapter
Chebl Zoghbi/Ex Lebanese Forces Veteran Fighter in Diaspora (LFVF)

Dr. Rachid Rahme/International Committee for the Cedars Revolution in Lebanon.

Toni Mouanis/Lebanese Canadian Coordinating Council (LCCC)

Camele Bhersafi/Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)

Charbel Constantine/Canadian Lebanese Christian Heritage Club (CLCHC)

Noel Haddad/Phoenician Club of Mississauga (PCOM)

Joseph Hemo/Canadian Phoenician Community Services Club (CPCSC)
Atef Harb/ World Maronite Union - USA

John Hajjar/World Cedar Revolution Committee

Roni Doumit/World Maronite Union-Europen Chapter (WMU-Europe)

George Chaya/WCLU Media Chairman for Spanish America

Walid S. El-Hage/CLUB (Christian Lebanese Union-Britain
Christian Chaoul./Guardians of the Cedars Organization in Britain
Asaad Sauma/Solidarity organization for Middle Ease Christians (SOMAC)

Elias Bejjani/Canadian Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement (FPM-Canada)

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Web Sites Related to the above co signers

 Note: The Canadian version of the above release was distributed in Canada under the LCCC .

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