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French Version

French ambassador stresses importance of 1559

Emie says full implementation of the resolution can 'restore the climate of confidence' needed to enact political and economic reforms

French Ambassador Bernard Emie encouraged the Lebanese people to unite in face of recent challenges confronting Lebanon and urged the passage of reforms necessary to meet the expectations of the March 14 demonstrators.

The French Embassy in Beirut celebrated France's Independence Day Thursday at the Residence des Pins.

Held by Emie and his wife, the ceremony saw the participation of various French officials as well as Lebanese religious, military, social and economic figures led by President Emile Lahoud's representative, outgoing Information and Tourism Minister Charles Rizk.

On the occasion, Emie recommended the Lebanese use their rich dialogue to find answers to the challenges of Lebanon today.

He said France will be by Lebanon's side as usual, adding that "France is persuaded that the Lebanon of tomorrow has what its takes to succeed despite the tragedies and obstacles."

In an interview with Beirut's daily An-Nahar yesterday, Emie cautioned the next government against disappointing the people and the younger generation's hopes for change, and stressed the need for UN Resolution 1559 to be fully implemented.

Speaking as the country awaits the formation of its first government following the Syrian withdrawal in April, the ambassador said a "democratic country respecting freedom and the rule of law" would be more capable of meeting challenges than a country "overwhelmed by tyranny and indifferent to its people's demands."

Emie said the international community was determined to hunt down those behind the assassinations of former Premier Rafik Hariri, MP Bassel Fleihan, Lebanese journalist Samir Kassir and the Communist Party's former secretary general George Hawi.

He added that, despite these challenges, Lebanon has registered "great progress on many levels," noting the country "has become free of foreign occupation" and held parliamentary elections on time.

Emie said: "Amending the electoral law within the context of national dialogue should be the new government and Parliament's top priority."

According to the ambassador, last month's elections marked a real renaissance in Lebanese political life, as Parliament now represents the majority of political forces in the country.

Emie said he believed progress could be achieved through executing economic and social reforms addressing the public's demand for employment and social justice.

He said: "The new authorities should restore the climate of confidence that the country's economy needs," adding the Lebanese state should restore its "exclusive and total predominance over the Lebanese territories. This is what Resolution 1559 aims at and this is why it should be fully implemented."

With respect to the aid the international community is preparing to offer to Lebanon, Emie said the international community "will not provide help until it is sure the necessary reforms are on the right track."But he stressed this did not mean the international community would impose its will on Lebanon, saying: "We will not help the new authorities until they help themselves."

beirut 14-07-2005
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