Lebanon defies the UN security council, extends Lahoud's presidency
Lebanon-UN, Politics, 9/4/2004
The Lebanese parliament on Friday approved the amendment of article 49 of the constitutions, defying thereby the UN Security Council resolution no. 1559 over presidential elections in this country.
The speaker of the Lebanese parliament Nabih Berri announced the consent of 96 parliamentarians on the extension of the current President of the Republic Emil Lahoud for three more year; while only 29 parliamentarians voted no for the proposal.
The voting session which lasted for two and a half hours was attended by 125 parliamentarians out of 128. One of the other three parliamentarians was absent because he is out of the country for medical treatment.
Witnesses said that joyful demonstrations took the streets of Beirut and gun fire was launched in the air celebrating renewal for President Lahoud until November 2007.
Before the meeting of the parliament, Beirut officially rejected the resolution of the UN Security Council. The Lebanese foreign minister Jean Obeid said that his country rejects any international movement that ignores the Israeli occupation of Lebanese territories and replacing that by interfering in the internal affairs of Lebanon. He stressed that Beirut will continue its contacts to withstand development that might result from the resolution which was approved by the UN Security Council.
The UN Security Council resolution calls for making free and transparent presidential elections in Lebanon, according to standing Lebanese constitutional rules without foreign intervention. It also calls for honoring Lebanon's sovereignty and territorial integrity, political independence and the withdrawal of all foreign forces from its lands.
For its part, the USA urged both Syria and Lebanon to abide by the UN Security Council resolution and the US Department Of State called for the need of honoring the Lebanese sovereignty.
The spokesman for the US Department Of State considered that the Syrian pressure to permitting renewal of the term of office for Lahoud is considered as ridiculing the principles of democracy. The spokesman for the US state department Tom Casey said on Friday that the Syrian pressures in Lebanon made of the voting operation as a " flagrant violations of the democratic principles." Casey expressed deep concern over the ignoring of the will of the Lebanese people because of the Syrian moves resulted in this noting, adding that " the Lebanese parliamentarians were subjected to pressures and even threats from Syria's side and its agents in order to agree to all demands set by Damascus calling for keeping the current president in the rule."
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