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U.S., Europe May Bar Syria From Lebanon

The United States has been consulting with France and other European countries on the United Nations Security Council regarding a possible resolution to support Lebanese sovereignty and stop Syria’s intervention in Lebanon’s politics.

Syria is currently behind a measure to extend the term of Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, but the U.S. State Department has expressed concern about what it regards as Syrian efforts to keep Lahoud, its political ally, in office, the Voice of America reported.

VOA added that on Saturday the Lebanese cabinet endorsed a Syrian-backed amendment to Lebanon’s constitution allowing Lahoud to stay another three years in office, an amendment that is expected to be approved in September.

State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said last week that the White House believes Lebanon should figure out its own future without any foreign intervention, and that it is time that foreign forces leave Lebanon.

Talks of the U.N. resolution have generated criticism from senior Lebanese who regard this move as interference in domestic affairs.

Foreign Minister Jean Obeid cautioned large states against using methods which he said were “misleading” and only served the tactical interests of these countries.

Obeid urged to make a distinction between Syrian-Lebanese relations and electoral politics. Western international approaches to democracy in Lebanon were not necessarily honest or innocent, Obeid said, labeling such approaches an interference.

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saleem Al-Ho’s said the move is obvious intervention in Lebanon’s internal matters aimed at damaging Lebanon’s sovereignty and doubting its constitutional institutions.