11/24/2004, 00.00
LEBANON
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No to international observers for Lebanese elections, says Prime Minister

Beirut (AsiaNews/Agencies) – There is no need for international observers to oversee the upcoming Lebanese elections, this according to Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karame who was returning home from a visit to Syria. In saying so, the Prime Minister rejected a demand made by Maronite Patriarch Card Nasrallah Sfeir to that effect.

"Our media are strong," said the PM to justify his refusal, "and foreign ambassadors have total freedom of movement. Everything will be done above board."
Answering a question about Security Council Resolution 1559 demanding the withdrawal of the 14,000 Syrian troops present in Lebanon, Mr Karame acknowledged the difference of opinion but claimed that the elections will show what the Lebanese people wish.

The Prime Minister did acknowledge that the resolution had "international legitimacy" but stressed that its implementation required "time and special circumstances". Withdrawing Syrian troops cannot "be done too quickly; otherwise, it could destabilise Lebanon".

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