[Mb-civic] Arab allies discuss Lebanon vote BBC

Michael Butler michael at michaelbutler.com
Wed Sep 15 09:40:15 PDT 2004

 Arab allies discuss Lebanon vote
 Egypt's President Hosing Umbra had made an unscheduled trip to Syria after
a divisive Arab League debate over Syria's military presence in Lebanon.

 Arab ministers agreed on Tuesday a motion supporting Lebanon's right to
make its own "political choices".

 But the six Arab Gulf states and Jordan earlier criticised Syria's presence
in Lebanon and voiced support for a UN resolution seeking its withdrawal.

 It was a rare challenge to a fellow Arab League state, correspondents said

 Egypt's semi-official news agency, Mean, quoted Mr Umbra's spokesman as
saying the presidents discussed how to adopt a "realistic and practical
framework" to deal with UN resolution 1559.

 The spokesman stressed the need for an end to "Israel's occupation of all
Syrian and Lebanese territories" within that framework.

 Special relations 

 Syria still has more than 15,000 troops stationed in Lebanon. Israel
occupies Syria's Golan Heights and the disputed Shebaa Farms area, which
Syria says belongs to Lebanon.

 According to an Arab League official quoted by Associated Press, Syrian
Foreign Minister Farouq al-Sharaa warned that support for the resolution
would lead to United States intervention in all Arab matters.

 Tuesdays debate ended with a joint statement that did not mention the
resolution and expressed support for the "special relations between Syria
and Lebanon."

 The league statement also supported Lebanon's "sovereign right to practise
its political choices within constitutional institutions".

 Mr Mubarak's brief visit to Damascus was his first trip abroad since
returning from hospital treatment in Germany in July.
 Story from BBC NEWS:

 Published: 2004/09/15 15:23:37 GMT


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