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French Version

Chirac calls on UN Security Council to consider conclusions of Larsen's report

Larsen stresses the need to promote sovereignty in Lebanon

French President Jacques Chirac urged the UN Security Council on Monday to consider the conclusions of the report by UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen regarding the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559.

Chirac said taking note of the conclusions would be a way for the Security Council to show support for the efforts of the Lebanese government, Elysee spokesman Jerome Bonnafont said after a meeting between Chirac and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at the Elysee.

In an interview published in L'Orient le Jour newspaper on Monday, Larsen stressed the need to promote sovereignty in Lebanon and to establish diplomatic relations between Lebanon and Syria.

Asked about his recent discussions with Lebanese officials, he said: "All the officials I met had a constructive approach [regarding Resolution 1559]."

"Some people preferred to have their discussions based on the Taif Accord and not on 1559; I told them I had no problem to refer to the Taif," he added.

According to Larsen, "as for disarmament and the dismantling of the militia, it is exactly the same rhetoric used in the Taif and in 1559."

With respect to dialogue with Hizbullah, Larsen said: "[Prime Minister Fouad] Siniora has informed me that he was conducting an informal dialogue with Hizbullah and we encourage the dialogue. We positively welcome the fact that [Hizbullah Secretary General] Hassan Nasrallah and Hizbullah have decided to engage in a productive dialogue regarding our report.

"I am not saying that dialogue will lead to maintaining the arms. What I am saying is let us continue to discuss the means to protect the country and if there is still a role for the resistance."

Larsen also commented on moves to demarcate Lebanon's borders with Syria, saying: "Every nation should have well-demarcated frontiers with its neighbors. The countries should agree on demarcating their frontiers and then inform the United Nations of the accords and provide us with the maps. The UN can help the parties in that matter."

Asked if there was a deadline for the implementation of 1559, Larsen said: "We hope that the implementation of 1559 would take place before the next report of the Security Council in six months. The earlier the better."

Meanwhile, Iranian Ambassador Massoud Idrisi said during his visits to Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani and Higher Shiite Council Vice President Sheikh Abdel-Amir Qabalan that the Lebanese resistance did not belong to one category of the Lebanese, but to all of Lebanon.

"The resistance has become a symbol of the Lebanese dignity and sovereignty," he said.

However, he added that international resolutions were being used to "impose constraints on the status of the resistance," in reference to UN Resolution 1559, which calls for Hizbullah to be disarmed.

Russian Ambassador Serguei Boukin said Moscow's increasing role in the region is due to its privileged relations with the Middle East formed before the collapse of the Soviet regime, particularly with Lebanon and Syria.

Boukin's comments followed a visit to former President Amin Gemayel.

Asked how Russia was ensuring a balance on the international scene, the ambassador said his country's influence was most notable during the Security Council's endorsement of resolutions 1595 and 1636.

"This balance exists as part of the organized coordination of efforts between the Security Council state members to serve the interests of all concerned states, starting with Lebanon and Syria," he added.

Beirut,11 07 2005
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