Lebanon News

U.S. calls on Assad to respect Lebanon's sovereignty

U.S. Envoy to Lebanon Maura Connelly meets with Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Grand Serail on Feb. 26, 2013. (The Daily Star/DalatiNohra)

BEIRUT: The U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon reiterated Tuesday her country’s call for the Assad regime to respect Lebanon’s sovereignty, while Future parliamentary bloc asked the president to deploy UNIFIL troops along the border with Syria to prevent border attacks.

“Noting the importance that all Lebanese parties abide by Lebanon’s policy of disassociation, the Ambassador also expressed the condolences of the United States for Lebanese citizens killed and injured by the Syrian regime’s shelling of and firing upon border villages,” the U.S. embassy said.

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly’s remarks came during talks she held with Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Grand Serail.

“She reiterated the United States’ call for the Assad regime to respect the sovereignty, independence, and stability of Lebanon. “

The Future bloc, headed by MP Fouad Siniora, also rejected attacks by members of the Syrian opposition against Lebanon following threats by the Free Syrian Army to target areas where Hezbollah is allegedly using as rocket launchers against them.

“The bloc asks President Michel Sleiman ... to take decisions at the government level that would deploy the Lebanese Army on the border according to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 to secure the safety of Lebanese and to ask peacekeeping forces to help the Army and deploy as well,” a statement by the bloc said.

The MPs, who condemned the Syrian army’s recent attacks against Lebanese border villages, also asked the government to lodge complaints at the Arab League and the United Nations against Syria.

Last week, four Lebanese were killed as a result of shelling and gunfire by the regime forces on border villages in the Wadi Khaled, one of several incidents that have led to loss of life and destruction of homes since the uprising began in Syria.

The attacks have also forced many northern residents to flee the region.

The Future bloc, which leads the opposition, also voiced rejection of any violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty by regime forces and the opposition alike.

“It rejects any violation to sovereignty or a military attack targeting Lebanese territory from any side whether the regime or from some parties in the Syrian opposition,” the statement said.

“The bloc holds the government fully responsible for what is happening on the northern and eastern border given it did not take necessary measures to control the border since the crisis began in Syria, protect residents or aid refugees properly,” it added.

Such measures, the bloc said, could have controlled the entry of thousands of refugees and provided them with aid until their return to their home country.

The bloc also condemned what it described as crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian regime against its citizens, voicing shock over the international community’s “continuous silence and indifference” to such events.





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