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23 May 2007
STATEMENT BY MINISTER MACKAY ON VIOLENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, today made the following statement concerning developments in the Middle East:
“Canadians are very concerned by the violence in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, and by the ongoing Qassam rocket attacks on Israel. We offer our heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims.
“We are greatly concerned by the security situation in Lebanon, particularly in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp and the city of Tripoli. Canada condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the ongoing actions of terrorist organizations in Lebanon, as well as those countries that support these groups. Canada supports the Government of Lebanon’s efforts to ensure the rule of law and its monopoly on the use of force in the country, consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.
“I spoke to Prime Minister Fouad Siniora on Monday, May 21, to reiterate these points. He has assured me of his commitment to resolving the ongoing political crisis through dialogue, and of his government’s continuing efforts to re-establish stability and security.
“In the Gaza Strip, violence continues. While it appears that the ceasefire reached on Saturday between Fatah and Hamas is holding, we are concerned by the fighting we have witnessed between Palestinians. We are also very concerned by the Qassam rocket attacks on Israel. Political dialogue is the only route to a lasting peace.
“I expressed these concerns during my telephone conversations over the past few days with the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, and with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. I reiterated Canada’s support for Israel’s security, as well as for President Abbas’ efforts to find a peaceful solution to the current situation.
“We urge all parties to respect international humanitarian law, to protect civilians, to avoid damaging civilian infrastructure and to allow people in need safe and unhindered access to humanitarian aid, which the United Nations and other organizations are so courageously trying to deliver.”