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Position
American Lebanese Coordination Council

Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, May 10, 2000

As Americans and Lebanese, we believe in the principles of freedom, independence, sovereignty and human rights, which were passed to us by our ancestors and have found solid root in the United States of America.

We call upon the United States of America, the United Nations, the Arab League, as well as the governments of the individual sovereign states to make appropriate response to the legitimate claims of the Lebanese people. As American citizens, we feel that these claims are in the strategic interests of the United States.

Fifty-two years ago, an illustrious son of Lebanon, Dr. Charles Malik, was the co-author and soul of the United Nations ¤Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Ë For over a half century, this document has served as the guideline for resolving multiple problems throughout the world. Ironically, the Lebanese, whose historic record and support of Human Rights has been clear, are now themselves subjects of suppressive measures as a result of multiple occupation.

Lebanon, a charter member of the United Nations, does not now enjoy the ¤inherent dignityË of the human family of which Dr. Malik and Eleanor Roosevelt spoke so eloquently. On the contrary, the events of recent years and months have shown that, in addition to being the battleground for the conflict of its neighbors, Lebanon now faces the prospect of serving as the sacrificial lamb in the ¤peace process.Ë In this critical time, Lebanon, whose history of tolerance and democracy was unique in the region, may fall as the price of peace.

The 30 year-long war shattered Lebanon╠s sovereignty, unity, culture, traditions of tolerance, and democracy.  In the year 2000, the peace process and the Israeli withdrawal provide a new opportunity to restore that, which has been destroyed.

We call upon the leadership of the United States, which is dedicated to the cause of democracy in the world and peace in the Middle East

To ensure that the people of Lebanon are guaranteed the same inalienable human rights shared by all other peoples of the free world, and

To implement the principles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rectification of abuses outlined in the US State Department February 25, 2000 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Lebanon.

We call on the international community to act to ensure that the people of Lebanon

Enjoy the rights of self-determination and the right to self-government free from subordination to any outside power.

Live free of foreign occupation under any guise.

Regain all sovereign territory to include the withdrawal of all non-Lebanese forces from the recognized international boundaries of Lebanon according to UN Resolutions 425, 426 and 520, namely Israeli and Syrian.

Embrace the final withdrawal of Israel, which should be complete and in total adherence with the UN assessment of the international border, and move to assure the safety of all its citizens in the south guaranteeing justice and due process of law, regardless of allegiance, by deploying the Lebanese Army. 

Are afforded the opportunity to reconcile themselves with the people of the south of Lebanon, a necessary ingredient for Lebanese unity.  The south has been neglected due to the war and quick measures must be taken to re-establish the confidence of its inhabitants. The people of the south must be accorded the same amnesty that other factions have been granted.  We call on all agencies to ensure security and plan economic development of the area.

Be free from the unbearable burden of the Palestinian refugees presently in the country as a consequence of years of regional wars. The problem of the refugees is the responsibility of the international community and they must be granted a fair and equitable solution. Until such time, we ask our government to demand that the sovereign authority of the Lebanese government be extended to every square inch of the territory. No one living in Lebanon should be exempt from Lebanese law.

And we ask all parties to commit to the following:

To re-establish the full sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon with the complete withdrawal of all non-Lebanese forces from Lebanon.

To respect the interests, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon's neighbors and demand reciprocation.

To seek the establishment of friendly and cooperative relations between Lebanon and all nations, including solidarity with the Arab world, to the extent possible while safeguarding Lebanese interests

To re-establish full freedom and democracy in Lebanon with equal rights to all citizens, regardless of ethnic, religious or political conviction.

To establish Lebanese national unity, refraining from all acts of retribution and revenge for past actions so that the wounds of war can heal.

To open an honest dialog among Lebanese to formulate a legal framework to safeguard and guarantee the interests of all Lebanese.

To do all in our powers to achieve the above within the rule of international law.

To demand international community support for Lebanon by full implementation and enforcement of all UN Resolutions regarding Lebanon.

To issue a strong statement and send a clear message to all parties that nothing less than full compliance and cooperation with the above conditions can result in the Lebanese government╠s reception into the family of nations and qualify it for either national or international aid.

To the Lebanese citizens in Lebanon, we say to behave as patriots as do the citizens living in the great states of the Free World. You may have shared interests with other countries but it is unacceptable when political power and position are owed to outside support. This system is a stain on Lebanon╠s national pride and contradicts the patriotic, nationalistic aspiration of state building. We call on all Lebanese to pledge their allegiance to the nation and work toward reconciliation and unity.

To the United States, a nation that has nurtured democracy throughout the world often at a great price in financial and human sacrifice in countries that never knew democracy, we say care for Lebanon, which has a history of democracy and freedom. Strategic American interests in the Eastern Mediterranean demands that a stable, pluralistic and democratic Lebanon rise in the post occupation period, lest an unstable autocratic Lebanon rise in its stead. It would be inconceivable that the United States allow such a compromise of principle, and breach of national security to take place in the name of securing ¤peaceË on the northern Israeli frontier.

To that international community of nations, we caution against ¤peace at any price.Ë To be a real and lasting peace, it must be equitable, fair and participatory with all territory returned to the control of the Lebanese government. Otherwise, a festering problem will be left to grow and overwhelm the region. The Lebanese will never compromise their freedom and we must never abandon them. The responsibility will rest with the international community and the present ¤peace makersË to determine what kind of peace they want and to be prepared for the consequences of their decisions.

THE COORDINATION COUNCIL

May 10, 2000

 

 

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