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I should be grateful if you would take cognizance of the present letter and its annex and have them circulated to the members of the Security Council.
1. The report contains no mention of the continuing historical responsibility borne by Israel for pursuing a devastating policy of destruction in Palestine, the Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon and for rejecting all the peaceful solutions agreed on by the international community and all resolutions of international legitimacy, despite the fact that the Secretary-General looks forward to the “achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East”, as stated in the final paragraph of the report — a wish shared by all the peoples of the region, including the people of Lebanon;
2. Lebanon draws attention to the statements contained in the report (paragraph 7) regarding the events that took place in the Sabra and Shatila camps during the Israeli incursion into Lebanon, including Beirut, and the fact that the responsibility for those events is attributed in the report to Lebanese political party elements alone, contrary to what is found in the report of the Kahan Commission, created by Israel at the time, which condemned Israeli military leaders and ministers, punishing some of them with expulsion and imprisonment owing to their responsibility regarding those massacres and even forcing General Ariel Sharon, head of the present Israeli Government, to resign at that time. Lebanon is struck by the stern language employed in dealing with Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, while language addressed to Israel is characterized by diplomacy and, for the most part, a lack of any blame for the acts committed by it;
3. Lebanon affirms once again:
– Its commitment to international law and the Charter of the United Nations and also its sovereign right to establish extensive relations with the Syrian Arab Republic as well as with all other countries. It reiterates that the question of the departure of the Syrian army from Lebanon is governed by bilateral relations and agreements between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic and depends on peace and defence requirements and the mutual security interests of the two countries in the absence of a just and comprehensive peace in the region and in the light of the implications of Israel’s continued occupation and spoiling of opportunities for peaceful political solutions. One cannot lose sight of the importance of that alliance for confronting and tackling the extremist currents that are fed and encouraged by Israel’s behaviour aimed at blowing up the region, not to mention the requirements of internal security, stability and the war on terrorism, which are governed by considerations and circumstances specific to the two countries. Lebanon’s relations with the Syrian Arab Republic will not disappear with the departure of the Syrian army from Lebanon, since they existed prior to its arrival and throughout its current deployment and will continue after it leaves. The question has again and again been one of appropriate timing and method and of Lebanon’s sovereign right in all these matters and above all else;
– The control of the State extends over all Lebanese territory with the exception of the Shab`a Farms and three points occupied by Israel. Hezbollah, whose activity is confined to the Farms, is an occupation resistance party to which the Lebanese are in full agreement about providing political protection. It is characterized by its discipline, its cooperation with the State and its social work. Its resistance will come to an end with the end of the residual occupation of Lebanese territory. At the same time, we fully believe that tranquillity and peace in the region and on all the fronts of the Arab-Israeli struggle will arise from a just, comprehensive and balanced solution based on withdrawal from all occupied Arab lands, the creation of a sovereign Palestinian State and the enforcement of the right of return of Palestinian refugees on the basis of General Assembly resolution 194 (III). As for danger in southern Lebanon, it is attributable to the daily Israeli violations of the Blue Line, which have been condemned on more than one occasion by Mr. Stephan de Mistura, Representative of His Excellency the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Lebanon;
– The extension of the term of the President of the Lebanese Republic took place in accordance with the rules set out in the Lebanese Constitution. Out of a total of 128 members of Parliament, 96 voted in favour of the extension. Those who voted for the extension belong to a different political orientation from those who voted against it. Consequently, it was the rule of the majority that determined the results, as in the case of other democracies;
– Lebanon has been and will remain under the umbrella of international legitimacy. Lebanon believes that the pursuit of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region, referred to by His Excellency the Secretary-General in his report, will be achieved through the implementation of the resolutions of international legitimacy which Israel rejects, including the establishment of a Palestinian State and the return of its people thereto and an end to occupation in all the occupied Arab territories.