Lebanon Says it Rejected Israeli Offer to ‘Barter Protection for Israel in Exchange for a Permanent Syrian Presence’
Lebanese President Emile Lahoud said Thursday Israel should know “clearly and once and for all” that it would not achieve security by using force and disclosed “secret” offers to barter protection for Israel in exchange for a permanent Syrian presence in Lebanon, reported The Daily Star.
Speaking at the opening of a weekly cabinet session, Lahoud revealed that more than two months ago, both Lebanon and Syria had rejected offers through diplomatic channels proposing a quid pro quo “a permanent Syrian presence in Lebanon in exchange for permanent Lebanese and Syrian protection for the security of northern Israel.”
“We rejected these offers and said at the time that such a presence is linked to the strategy of confrontation, not with an exchange between Israel’s security and Syria remaining here.
“We say the same thing about an offer made openly by Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres two days ago and affirm that the resistance is continuing and the exchange is rejected,” the president said.
Lahoud that Israel’s air strike against a Syrian radar installation in the Bekaa on Monday that killed at least a Syrian serviceman “will not prevent us from adhering to our firm position based on doing away with Israeli occupation of territory, a return of Palestinian refugees to their homes and releasing prisoners held in Israeli jails.”
“Without all of these rights and without resorting to the principles of a comprehensive and just peace in the region, Israel should know clearly and once and for all that it will not achieve security by force, regardless of its aggression and escalation.”
The president said Israel would be held responsible for its “aggression and escalation in occupied territory as well as for its attempts to introduce new formulas which will be rejected by us, through resistance and diplomatic and other legitimate means.”
“Israel’s interior will not be safe if our own interior is subject to any aggression,” he warned.
In turn, Premier Rafik Hariri was quoted by the paper as telling the cabinet that since Ariel Sharon came to power this year, Israel was following a “suicidal policy that would not lead to a solution.” -- Albawaba.com
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