New Lebanese president pledges strengthening ties with Syria and rule of law
Lebanon, Politics, 11/25/1998
Lebanese President-elect Emile Lahoud was sworn in on Tuesday as the new president of Lebanon. The swearing-in ceremony was held during a special session of the Lebanese Parliament, chaired by Speaker Nabih Berri.
Lahoud also praised Syrian President Hafez al-Assad's stances and Syria's role in Lebanon. He added: "It was a great mistake committed by some who viewed the relation with Syria as a transitional one forgetting the fact that both Syria and Lebanon can only be strong together or weak together."
President Lahoud went on: "My experience in building the Lebanese Army gave me a strong faith in the fact that Syria, its leader, people and army wish welfare to Lebanon and render all-out support for it. But some officials in power did not make use of this support in building their country and in making good terms with Syria."
Lahoud praised the Lebanese resistance and supporters of the Lebanese Army in confrontation of the Israeli occupation of south Lebanon, stressing that ending the occupation is a duty paramount to all. He reiterated Lebanon's strong commitment to a just and comprehensive peace as a strategic option based on implementation of UN resolutions and the "land for peace" initiative.
He stated that throughout the past, Israel has launched a campaign to show that Lebanon refuses Israel's pullout in line with resolution 425, adding, "Israel has a special interpretation of the resolution, which is not compatible with Lebanon's interests and national dignity. That is why we refuse Israel's interpretation of 425 and repeatedly say we cannot give Israel guarantees and arrangements for a withdrawal that eases Tel Aviv and will be at the expense of Lebanon."
President Lahoud confirmed the cohesion between the Syrian and Lebanese negotiation tracks to achieve a just and comprehensive peace based on Israel's total withdrawal from south Lebanon, the Western Bekaa and the Syrian Golan Heights and "guaranteeing the security and interests of all parties concerned."
He thanked the Arab states that backed Lebanon, stressing that "his safe country is good for all Arabs." He underlined the importance of combating corruption and sectarianism. President Lahoud stressed the future of Lebanon lies within the establishment of the rule of law, saying that even he, as president, is not above the law.
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