Suleiman from Australia: Lebanon Won't Be Launch Pad for Attack on Syriaإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
President Michel Suleiman on Monday stressed that “Lebanon is not an arena for settling scores or conflict, but rather an arena for the rapprochement of all Arab brothers,” noting that “Lebanon will not be a launch pad for sabotage or attack against any Arab nation, particularly Syria.”
In a speech before members of the Lebanese community in Canberra, Suleiman said: “What concerns us in Syria is democracy, and the latest referendum has shown that everyone in Syria wants democracy.”
The president called on the Syrians to “engage in dialogue in order to find the most suitable method to implement democracy,” hoping “the current initiative led by Mr. Kofi Annan and backed by the U.N. and the Arab League will find its way towards proper implementation.”
Turning to the domestic situations, Suleiman stressed that he will seek an electoral law that is “modern and in the vein of our political system … a law that resembles our constitution and would ensure pluralism in all sects.”
“Once this law is adopted, a law on the administrative decentralism stipulated by the Taef Accord will be proposed, which will allow districts and municipal unions to practice their real missions and implement balanced development,” the president added.
He also reassured the conferees that Lebanon’s “financial and economic system is solid, alongside the political system which has preserved security.”
Earlier on Monday, Suleiman said all sides in Syria were keen on achieving democracy in their country, adding that they should make their choice away from violence.
He warned: “The unrest in Syria may spread to Lebanon.”
He therefore urged Arab countries to assume their responsibilities in resolving the disputes.
The president made his remarks before the Arab ambassadors in Australia during his ongoing trip to the country.
Suleiman later held talks with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, during which he stressed the need for finding “just and comprehensive” solutions to the conflicts in the Middle East “away from the danger of division and fragmentation.”
“This requires a political decision and real international will to provide the pressing factors that will force all sides to commit to the solution,” he noted.
The president lauded Australia’s support for Lebanon, which he said is based on the values of democracy, freedom, and a commitment to human rights and international resolutions.
For her part, Gillard highlighted the Lebanese people’s role in her country, noting their political, economic, social, and cultural contributions.
The president and premier stressed the need to back Lebanon’s sovereignty, unity, and independence, especially through supporting the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the implementation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1701.
They voiced a hope to bolster cooperation between Lebanon and Australia in defense and military fields and welcomed the establishment of a Lebanese chamber of trade and industry in Melbourne.
Gillard then threw a luncheon banquet in honor of Suleiman and his accompanying delegation after which they toured the house of parliament.
The delegation later headed to Canberra’s national arboretum, where Suleiman planted a cedar tree.
He said: “This tree is a symbol of the good ties between the Lebanese and Australian people, which we hope will continue throughout the ages.”