PRESS RELEASES 2007
Press Availability Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs C. David Welch with Parliamentary Leader Saad Hariri, Beirut, Lebanon
May 15, 2007I’m very pleased to be in Lebanon to explore ways in which the United States can most effectively and appropriately support the Lebanese people in achieving their goals of peace and prosperity, sovereignty and stability. I thank Parliamentary Leader Saad Hariri for this very useful exchange of ideas and views.
I reassured Sheikh Saad of the strong support of the United States to assist the Lebanese people in uncovering the truth behind the tragic assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. To that end, I noted the commitment of the United States to continue its efforts to work with the Lebanese to ensure the establishment of a tribunal of international character to try those accused of Rafik Hariri’s murder and to put an end to the sad string of attacks, assassinations and attempted assassinations that the Lebanese people have suffered over the years.
Prime Minister Hariri’s assassination two years ago ignited a popular uprising demanding Lebanese sovereignty, independence and democracy. Sadly, the road forward has been neither straightforward nor without sacrifice. But the commitment of the United States to achieve Rafik Hariri’s vision of a prosperous, secure and democratic Lebanon remains firm. This is a commitment that is non-negotiable: the United States will not allow Lebanon’s sovereignty to become a bargaining chip nor will not it renege on its promise to the Lebanese people to support their vision of a free and democratic Lebanon.
I noted to Sheikh Saad that the Lebanese people have a unique opportunity in the coming months to secure their future as a united, democratic and stable state. Electing a new president—on time, in accordance with the Constitution, and free of outside interference—would be a significant milestone towards the Lebanese people’s goal of sovereignty and independence. I re-iterated our support for Lebanon’s democratically elected Parliament and underscored the importance we accord to a fully functioning legislative as an essential component of a stable and democratic state.