Socialist International discusses Lebanon situation in extraordinary meeting in Beirut, 16 December 2006

Aware of the dangers facing Lebanon in particular, and the Middle East in general, due to the escalation of all types of fundamentalism and all other forms of extremism, the continuing occupation of territories, violations of human rights and the denial of democracy, acts of violence targeting groups and individuals, the absence of the rule of law and the rejection of international resolutions, including those related to the establishment of special courts to judge the perpetrators of committed crimes, the Socialist International has accepted the invitation of the Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party to hold an extraordinary meeting in Beirut on 16 December 2006.

In this meeting, the Socialist International has renewed its support, already expressed in 2005, to the March 14 Movement which peacefully launched the Cedars Revolution leading to the withdrawal of Syrian forces, organised free elections with the presence of international observers and subsequently formed the government of the new independent Lebanon headed by Fouad Siniora.

Since then, in attempts to destabilise the already fragile Lebanon, there has been continued assassinations of government ministers, members of parliament, journalists and political officials - the latest of which took place on 21 November, targeting the Minister of Industry, Pierre Gemayel -, external and internal pressures practised by Syria and Iran, and the hostilities initiated by Hezbollah in the South resulting in a disproportionate response by Israel against the whole Lebanese population, villages and infrastructure.

For two weeks now, and on the verge of signing and ratifying conventions to establish a special tribunal for Lebanon, these internal and external pressures have been seeking to overthrow the Lebanese government, outside the institutional framework and through street movements, despite the fact that the government holds the parliamentary and popular majority.

In light of these developments, the Socialist International expresses its concern and its desire to see the immediate end of all external interference as well as all the breaches of Lebanese sovereignty, independence and democracy.

The Socialist International therefore reiterates:

1. Its support for the legitimately elected government of Lebanon, headed by Fouad Siniora, and calls for dialogue between all the parties to enlarge and consolidate national consensus under the auspices of the Arab League.

2. Its support for the different UN resolutions on Lebanon, including 1559, 1595, 1636, 1644, 1680 and 1701.

3. Its condemnation of the attempts to destabilise the Lebanese state through the infiltration of men and materials aimed at causing incidents or at carrying out terrorist acts.

4. Its solidarity with the March 14 Movement in its efforts to preserve the sovereignty and the independence of Lebanon, in the framework of its constitutional institutions set forth in the Taef Accords.

5. Its determination to support the creation of an International Tribunal to judge the perpetrators of crimes committed against the former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and his companions, as well as other assassinations committed before and after these murders.

6. Its determination to see Lebanon recover the territories still occupied by Israel and proceed to the exchange of prisoners stipulated by Security Council Resolution 1701. In addition, it calls for the release of Lebanese prisoners held in Syrian jails.

7. Its concern to see Lebanon recover its full sovereignty over all its territories and find, through national dialogue, the means to end all illicit military presence on Lebanese soil.

8. Its full support to the efforts for economic recovery, social reform and reconstruction in Lebanon, mainly through a Paris III Conference. The International calls on all Arab states, Europe and the rest of the world to contribute to these efforts.

9. That it has always advocated and struggled for a just and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the restoration of occupied territories and rights, and the creation of a Palestinian state under conditions guaranteeing peace, independence and security for all. This will also help to contribute to consolidating and securing the Lebanese formula specifically in relation to coexistence, cultural diversity and democracy. Finally, the Socialist International believes that the holding of a new International Peace Conference, addressing issues affecting the entire region, deserves the support of the whole international community.

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