The head of the anti-Syrian ruling majority not to call for negotiations with Israel
The head of the anti-Syrian ruling majority in Lebanon, Saad Hariri, said Tuesday he would not call for negotiations between Lebanon and Israel, reported dpa.
"We will never initiate and request any negotiations with Israel, and the cabinet has the sole authority to take this decision," Hariri was quoted as saying after meeting the head of the Christian community Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir.
Hariri was referring to a suggestion made by Christian leader Michel Aoun, a close ally of the pro-Syrian opposition Hezbollah. Aoun has called for negotiating with Israel in Syria's presence.
On May 22, Israel and Syria announced that they were engaged in negotiations for a comprehensive peace treaty through Turkish mediators.
Lebanese officials have always said that they will be the last to sign a peace treaty with Israel.
Hariri supported Sfeir's call for Lebanon to be sovereign and make its own decisions, adding that Sfeir "is Lebanon's conscience."
Syria was Lebanon's main power-broker until 2005, when Damascus was pressured by the international community to end its 30-year military and political influence on Lebanon, following the February, 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri.
Hariri, the father of Saad Hariri, was killed in massive bomb blast in Beirut. Syria was widely blamed for the Hariri assassination, a charge Damascus still denies.
Hariri confirmed that Lebanon's 2009 parliamentary elections, due in May, would be held on time, with democracy and transparency as their basis. His March 14 alliance had no interest in delaying them.