UN urges Lebanon and Syria to redefine, normalize ties
( dpa ) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on Lebanon and Syria to normalize their difficult relationship three years after Syria ended three decades of military occupation of Lebanon.
Ban said Lebanon has suffered "many setbacks" in its efforts to assert "beyond dispute" its sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence since Syria pulled out its military and intelligence services in May, 2005.
The Syrian pullout was prompted by accusations that it was responsible for the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February, 2005.
"Time has come for a re-definition and formulation of ties between the two historically close neighbours, in mutual respect for their sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence," Ban said in a renewed effort to urge Syria and Lebanon to implement a UN resolution.
The two countries should discuss the establishment of full diplomatic ties and delineate their borders, including whether the Shaa Farm is on Syrian or Lebanese soil, Ban said. Other issues to be resolved include the Lebanese detained in Syria.
Ban called for the disarming and disbanding of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias as elements to consolidate Lebanese sovereignty. He said Hezbollah's continued para-military activities pose a challenge to Lebanese sovereignty.