Montreal, Canada - March 06, 2005

Canada strongly supports the Lebanese people in their aspirations toward a more complete democracy.

In a statement issued on the 5th of March 2005, the Canadian Foreign Affairs minister, Honorable Pierre Pettigrew said: “Syria should immediately begin a complete withdrawal of all of its forces from Lebanon. That withdrawal should be carried out as expeditiously as possible”.
He also stressed that “UN Resolution 1559 must be implemented” as he made it clear for the Syrian government during his visit to Damascus on February 12, 2005. In the same statement, he recognized that “redeployment rather than withdrawal will, however, delay democratic progress in Lebanon and perpetuate instability in the region”.
For further information about the statement, please visit the following link:
http://webapps.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/minpub/Publication.asp?publication_id=382227&language=E

RCPL welcomes this long awaited statement from the Canadian government with great relief. RCPL and the whole Canadian-Lebanese community thank the Honorable Minister for responding to the voice of the community, and recognizing the need for the Syrian troops to pullout from Lebanon in order to have a fair and transparent democratic process.

However, RCPL would like to remind the Honorable Minister that such statement should be associated with a continuous pressure on the Syrian and Lebanese authorities through the United Nations and bi-lateral relations in order to:
 

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Respect the Lebanese people's choice and the UN Resolution 1559 by immediately withdrawing the 15,000 Syrian soldiers and intelligence agents from Lebanon

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Disarm all non-governmental armed groups operating in Lebanon and that create an environment of insecurity in Lebanon and the region

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Reveal the fate of hundreds of Lebanese still illegally detained in Syrian prisons since more than 30 years.


In addition, RCPL urges the Canadian government to take the initiative of leading an international committee of observers for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Lebanon. Such initiative is necessary to protect the democratic process in Lebanon. It will also reflect the concrete commitment of Canada to promote democratic values in the world.

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