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French Version

In visit, European Parliament envoy throws support behind probe

Paulo Casaca, the head of the European Parliamentary delegation to NATO, said UN Security Council Resolution 1559 "will guarantee the establishment of independence and freedom in Lebanon."

Casaca met Monday with Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir in Bkirki. In remarks afterward, he said: "We have discussed the major issues in Lebanon, in particular the need to free Lebanon from any foreign forces or armed militias."

He continued: "I believe there is an agreement over the need to implement Resolution 1559," which he said will provide the Lebanese with their independence and freedom.

"We have also informed the prelate of the European Union's preparations for the holding of a conference in Lisbon on April 7 and which aims to honor the martyrs that died for the sake of Lebanon's freedom and independence," Casaca added.

According to Casaca, "peace and accord between the Lebanese cannot be achieved but through the uncovering of the truth behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri."

Casaca voiced his surprise at the pictures of "non-Lebanese political leaders hanged on streets in the Bekaa."

"This phenomenon was never seen but in Lebanon," he said.

Asked if the European Parliament supported the extension of the work of the UNIFIL, he said that such an issue should be resolved by the Lebanese government, adding that the European Parliament was ready to help Lebanon in regaining its independence.

He also stressed the importance that Lebanon have an "independent and strong army."

As for the identity of Shebaa Farms, he said: "This issue should be resolved by the United Nations and Lebanon has to submit necessary documents concerning that matter."

Casaca also met with Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamade and Army Commander General Michel Suleiman. He was accompanied by a delegation from the International Committee for the Implementation of Resolution 1559.

Casaca also held talks with MP Saad Hariri.

Beirut,02 28 2006
The Daily Star
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