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Congress & the Middle East:
Senate Resolution Condemning Syria and Iran for Interfering in Lebanon

(October 18, 2007)


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S.Res.353

Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the importance of a sovereign, democratic, and prosperous Lebanon and the need for free and fair presidential elections in Lebanon without intimidation or foreign interference.

RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the importance of a sovereign, democratic, and prosperous Lebanon and the need for free and fair presidential elections in Lebanon without intimidation or foreign interference.

Whereas, in 2004, the term of the current President of Lebanon, Emile Lahoud, was extended through the interference of the Government of Syria in the internal affairs of the Government of Lebanon;

Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559, adopted on September 2, 2004, called for free and fair presidential elections in Lebanon conducted in accordance with the constitution of Lebanon and without foreign interference and influence;

Whereas such a presidential election has not yet occurred;

Whereas the Parliament of Lebanon is preparing to elect a new president of Lebanon before the November 24, 2007, conclusion of the mandate of the current President;

Whereas the Governments of Syria and Iran , through their proxies in Lebanon, have sought undue influence over the election of the next president of Lebanon;

Whereas the preparation for these elections has thus far been characterized by violence and intimidation tactics, and on September 19, 2007, Member of the Parliament of Lebanon Antoine Ghanem became the 8th Lebanese leader to be assassinated since 2005;

Whereas the democratically-elected Government of Lebanon has been under steady attack by domestic and foreign elements and forces that have been instigating civil unrest, disrupting the operation of the cabinet and Parliament, and perpetrating acts of terror against the people of Lebanon;

Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, adopted on August 11, 2006, reiterated `strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized borders', and called on states to `take the necessary measures to prevent . . . the sale or supply to any entity or individual in Lebanon of arms and related materiel of all types';

Whereas President Lahoud has threatened to create an unconstitutional rival cabinet and hand over power to it if the opposition is not satisfied with the results of the constitutional electoral process;

Whereas the Governments of Syria and Iran , in clear contravention of numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions, have violated Lebanon's sovereignty by providing arms to illegitimate militias in Lebanon and to other terrorist organizations;

Whereas the armed forces of Lebanon are protecting Lebanon and its people from terrorist organizations like Fatah al Islam;

Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 1757 established a Special Tribunal for Lebanon, to be convened outside of Lebanon, to try those accused of the assassination of former Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafiq Hariri and others; and

Whereas a sovereign, democratic, and prosperous Lebanon is in the national security interest of the United States: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the Senate--
      (1) calls for free and fair presidential elections in Lebanon, conducted according to the constitution of Lebanon and free from foreign interference and influence or the use of intimidation tactics;
      (2) supports ongoing efforts by leaders in Lebanon to reach agreement on a presidential candidate committed to upholding Lebanon's sovereignty and independence;
      (3) condemns the Governments of Syria and Iran for their undue material interference in the internal political affairs of Lebanon, including in the election of a new president, and for their repeated violations of the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon, and calls on the Governments of Syria and Iran to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, particularly with respect to preventing unauthorized shipment of arms into Lebanon;
      (4) affirms its strong support for the armed forces of Lebanon as they work to secure Lebanon against terrorists and illegal armed militias, and conveys its readiness to provide support to assist in these ends;
      (5) urges the Secretary of State to continue efforts in support of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon to end impunity for political assassinations, including assisting in efforts to convene the Special Tribunal as soon as possible, affirms its readiness to continue to provide material support to this cause, and calls on all countries to make timely and generous contributions to this end; and
      (6) urges the President to use all peaceful means at the disposal of the United States to help promote an independent, democratic, and prosperous Lebanon, including increased diplomatic coordination with key partners in Europe and the Middle East, and supports efforts by the United States to provide ongoing and substantial assistance for reconstruction efforts in Lebanon.

Sources: The Library of Congress

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