Solana wants more pressure on Syria over Lebanon

The European Union's foreign policy chief called on Sunday for greater pressure on Syria to allow the election of a president in Lebanon.

Solana wants more pressure on Syria over Lebanon
In unusually blunt criticism, Javier Solana said Damascus was using proxies in Lebanon to prevent the election of armed forces chief Michel Suleiman, while the pro-Western majority in parliament was whittled away as lawmakers were killed.

The best chance to solve the issue was before a planned Arab summit in Damascus on March 29-30, because key leaders would not attend unless a new Lebanese head of state was present, he said.

"The pressure on Syria has to grow in order to solve the situation in Lebanon. I think the opportunity is there, before this summit which will take place in Damascus," Solana told the Brussels Forum on transatlantic relations.

"To tell you the truth, I'm not pretty sure that will be done. If that is not, then we get into a very serious crisis. This crisis is very dramatic," he said.

He suggested Syria may have been emboldened in its behaviour by the release last year of a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate that concluded that its key regional ally, Iran, had stopped efforts to build a nuclear weapon in 2003.

"The NIE made a change in Damascus. The sentiment that was conveyed was that there was no risk at all (of U.S. military action). That sentiment was conveyed to Tehran but it was also conveyed to Damascus," he said.

Solana noted that the next report of the international investigator into the Hariri killing was due to be issued on March 27, just before the Damascus summit.

Damascus denies interfering in Lebanon.


Agencies
Last Mod: 17 Mart 2008, 13:07
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