BEIRUT: Lebanon must fully implement U.N. resolutions and the Baabda Declaration in order to achieve security and stability, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale said following a meeting with Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun Monday.
“Certainly we in the United States believe that Lebanon will only achieve lasting stability with the full implementation of all outstanding UN Security Resolutions and with all parties abiding by those provisions as well as those of the Baabda Declaration,” Hale told reporters after the talks, according to a U.S. Embassy statement.
“That is not the case today, but it can and must be in the future if the Lebanese are to achieve their goals of a normal, stable, secure, and prosperous country,” Hale added, voicing optimism that the Lebanese have the resilience and capacity to achieve such goals.
Hale was referring to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which stipulates the disarmament of all armed militias in Lebanon.
The resolution was a topic of discussion with Aoun, head of the Free Patriotic Movement and one of Hezbollah’s main allies.
The envoy, who arrived in Lebanon last month, has met with a number of officials and politicians and said Monday his meeting with Aoun was aimed at understanding all Lebanese perspectives.
“One important area of agreement today with General Aoun was our shared emphasis on supporting Lebanon’s constitutional practices, institutions, and traditions,” Hale said.
“We also discussed the Baabda Declaration, and agreed that it provides a foundation for all Lebanese to deal with the challenges that we face today,” the envoy added.
Hale said last week that Hezbollah was violating the Baabda Declaration through its military involvement in Syria.
The Baabda Declaration, a pact signed rival parties in 2012, stipulates that Lebanon be kept at a distance form regional turmoil, particularly events in its neighbor Syria.
The two also discussed freedom of religion and attacks against minorities in Syria, particularly Christians.
Aoun has been an outspoken critic of radical Syrian rebel groups, particularly after their attack on the predominantly Christian village of Maaloula in Syria earlier this month.
“I assured the [former] General that the United States believes that all religious communities must be free to practice their faiths and ways of life wherever they are, and to participate in the institutions that govern them,” he said.
“We also condemn the atrocities occurring against innocent civilians next door in Syria, including attacks directed against vulnerable minorities, including the Christians,” Hale added.
He also said he discussed with Aoun the threat of corruption and the impact on state institutions and the “way of life here in Lebanon.”