|Bush, Chirac Call for Implementation of U.N. Lebanon Resolution|
Leaders agree on importance of independent, sovereign Lebanon
The United States and France have urged "full and immediate" implementation of a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls for an independent and sovereign Lebanon and the consolidation of security by a Lebanese government "free from foreign domination."
In a February 21 joint statement, President Bush and France's President Jacques Chirac said that the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 is essential to the success of forthcoming parliamentary elections in that country.
Those elections, under certain conditions, can be a milestone in Lebanon's endeavors to return to independence and democracy, the statement said.
Before Bush left for Europe to meet Chirac and other European leaders, U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said February 17 that the United States and France will continue their close collaboration on the issue of Lebanon, and that Syria needs to follow the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 and restore sovereignty to Lebanon.
Following is the text of the Bush-Chirac joint statement:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
February 21, 2005
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH AND PRESIDENT JACQUES CHIRAC
The United States and France join with the European Union and the international community in condemning the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, and in their support for a free, independent, and democratic Lebanon. We support the U.N. investigation into this terrorist act and urge the full cooperation of all parties in order to identify those responsible for this act.
We urge full and immediate implementation of UNSCR 1559 in all its aspects, including its call for a sovereign, independent, and democratic Lebanon as well as for the consolidation of security under the authority of a Lebanese government free from foreign domination.
Lebanon's forthcoming parliamentary elections can mark another milestone in Lebanon's return to independence and democracy if they are free and fair, conducted without outside interference, and guaranteed by international observers. The implementation of UNSCR 1559 is essential to the organization and success of these elections. The people of Lebanon deserve this opportunity, and we stand with them in their aspirations for freedom, sovereignty, and security.