Montreal, Canada - February 28, 2005

February 2005 - Vol. 18

RCPL February 2005 Newsletter includes the following items:

1.
Former Prime Minister Hariri assassinated
2. Lebanese Government accepts to cooperate with UN into Hariri assassination
3. International pressure mounts on Syrian presence in Lebanon
4. Prime Minister Paul Martin defies international community
5. RCPL sends delegation to Lebanon with DFAIT support


1. Former Prime Minister Hariri assassinated

On February 14, a huge explosion killed the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri. The self-made billionaire joined Lebanese politics after the end of the war, and led the largest reconstruction effort of the country. Hariri resigned in October 2004 following the constitutional amendment to extend the mandate President Emile Lahoud, which is backed by Syria. Authorities have yet to identify the culprits of this brutal murder.


2. Lebanese Government accepts to cooperate with UN into Hariri assassination

Following strong international pressure and a United Nation Security Council request, the Lebanese authorities have accepted to cooperate with the UN into the assassination of the former prime minister, Rafik Hariri. UN representatives arrived in Beirut and are participating into the inquiry, which shocked the Lebanese and the international community.


3. International pressure mounts on Syrian presence in Lebanon

Following the assassination of former prime minister, the international community has intensified its calls for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon. Additionally, unprecedented mass demonstrations in Lebanon from across communities in Lebanon toke place to commemorate the slain former prime minister, and to request the withdrawal of Syrian forces.


4. Prime Minister Paul Martin defies international community

The Prime Minister of Canada has defied the international community and called the Syrian presence in Lebanon as legitimate and necessary to maintain peace. The comments of the prime minister was insulting for the Lebanese community, which is impatiently waiting for their ancestral country to become free and independent following the end of the war in 1990.


5. RCPL sends delegation to Lebanon with DFAIT support

RCPL is sending a delegation to Lebanon to follow-up on the conference that was held on September 18, 2004. The delegation will meet with key civil society representative to identify cross functional theme that will mobilize and unite the Lebanese population to a common cause. This trip is supported by the John Holmes Fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Canada.

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