Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew today made the following statement
welcoming Syria’s decision to withdraw its military and intelligence
personnel from Lebanon by April 30, 2005. Mr. Pettigrew also offered his
support for an international independent commission to assist Lebanese
authorities in investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister
“I welcome Syria’s decision on April 3 to withdraw the remainder of its
troops and intelligence personnel from Lebanon by April 30 and to accept
a United Nations team to verify the withdrawal. The UN Special Envoy has
indicated that Syria will thereby be in compliance with its obligations
under the Taif Accords and UN Security Council Resolution 1559.
“The report of the UN fact-finding mission on the assassination of the
former Prime Minister, made public on March 24, 2005, raises troubling
issues about the Lebanese investigation of Mr. Hariri’s assassination.
It also calls into question Syria’s role in destabilizing Lebanon’s
political climate. An impartial inquiry into the bombing, under UN
auspices, is essential to identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators.
“A free and open political dialogue among all Lebanese parties is
crucial to a peaceful, stable Lebanon and to the success of the
forthcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for May 2005.
“I also wish to voice my concern about, and condemnation of, the recent
escalation of violence in and near Beirut. Such tactics are a clear
attempt to intimidate the public and suppress the growing calls for
greater democratic reform and freedom from foreign interference. We urge
all parties to respect the aspirations of the Lebanese people for
democracy and the rule of law.”
- 30 -
For further information, media representatives may contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs Canada