05/19/2006, 00.00
SYRIA – IRAN – LEBANON
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Tehran backs Damascus against new UN Resolution

Iranian Foreign Minister Mottaki visits Damascus, calls Resolution 1680 "a novelty and a violation of international law". For Lebanon's government, the "resolution is good". For Patriarch Sfeir the UN decision is "something good that Lebanon was waiting for some time."

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Iran swiftly backed Syria in rejecting United Nations Security Council Resolution 1680 (which, among other things, calls on Syria and Lebanon to clearly draw their borders and establish diplomatic relations). In Lebanon, the UN motion was largely welcomed, including by Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, except for Hizbollah.

Syria and Lebanon called Resolution 1680 "a novelty and a violation of international law," but also urged certain Security Council members to "show more resistance" to such resolutions, which "only weaken this institution".

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who flew to Damascus as soon as the resolution was adopted, made the last reproach, most likely directed at Russia and China, during a press briefing with his Syrian counterpart Walid Moallem.

Mottaki, who delivered an undisclosed letter to Syrian President Assad from Iranian President Ahmadinejad, said that his country was in favour of improved Syrian-Lebanese relations but in accordance with the political will prevailing in the two countries.

Syria, which yesterday complained about "interference" and called the resolution an "unprecedented decision", through its Foreign Minister Moallem today accused the US, France and Great Britain, who co-sponsored the resolution approved 13-0 with China and Russia abstaining, of trying to "internationalise bilateral relations" (with Lebanon).

In Lebanon itself, Hizbollah slammed that Resolution 1680 saying that it served foreign and not Lebanese interests, adding that it contradicts the efforts made in favour of good relations between Lebanon and Syria. For Hizbollah, the Security Council claimed a right that it does not have, interfering in issues that concern the sovereignty of two independent countries.

By contrast, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said that "resolution is good because it encourages both brotherly countries to cooperate in order to implement two issues that were adopted by the national dialogue".

Leaders from Lebanon's majority parties made statements that are equally supportive of the UN motion.

For his part, Patriarch Sfeir said that the UN decision was "something good that Lebanon was waiting for some time. Let us hope that Syria will accept it in good faith".

Lebanon and Syria, he noted, "have a right to be free, independent, within clearly demarcated borders."

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