BEIRUT: U.S. President Barack Obama hailed the Baabda Declaration Thursday, praising former Lebanese President Michel Sleiman’s efforts during his six-year term.
“The Baabda Declaration of 2012 that consists of isolating Lebanon from regional conflicts is an asset of your leadership,” Obama said in a letter to Sleiman, according to the latter's office.
“It is an extremely important heritage for the next generations,” he continued, “who should reinforce it for the sake of supporting the Lebanese state, protecting its independence and defending its institutions.”
The accord signed in 2012 by rival political leaders who met at Baabda Palace, stated that Lebanon should be distanced from regional crises. The pact’s significance was that it announced a unified Lebanese opinion against engaging in the Syrian war.
However, after Hezbollah announced its involvement in fighting alongside the Assad Regime in Syria, the declaration became widely contested, especially by the March 8 coalition.
Sleiman had called for the incorporation of the declaration in Lebanese constitution in November 2013, stating that it should not be a perceived as provocative by Hezbollah.
Obama’s letter also praised the cooperation between the two countries’ governments during Sleiman’s presidency, especially in terms of supporting Lebanon and its army.