By Nafez Qawas, NEW YORK: Resolution 1701, the permanent settlement of Palestinians, the presidential poll, and Israeli violations were the main issues addressed by President Emile Lahoud in his address to the UN’s 62nd General Assembly on Friday Lahoud called for international support and assistance for Lebanon to prevent the country from falling apart. "Some states are trying to interfere in Lebanon’s internal affairs against international norms … I urge the international community to prevent and halt these interferences for they are increasing the existing tensions in the county," he added.

President Lahoud said foreign interference in Lebanese domestic issues "could instigate hatred and increased tensions on the Lebanese scene, a matter which not only might have negative repercussions on the upcoming presidential election, but on the safety of the Lebanese as well." Lahoud reiterated Lebanon’s commitment to the implementation of Resolution 1701, and denounced all related Israeli violations. "The implementation of  Resolution 1701 requires the liberation of the Shebaa Farms and the Kfar Shouba Hills in the South of Lebanon, in addition to the release of all Lebanese detained in Israel," said Lahoud.

He also added that many Lebanese still wonder why "we are still in the phase of cessation of hostilities and haven’t moved yet into the phase of a cease-fire as called for by Resolution 1701."

"This matter remains questionable to many Lebanese, especially that Israel continues up to this very moment to violate our land, sea and skies," he added.

He also stressed the importance of uncovering those behind the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri, but demanded that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon adopt transparent criteria and procedures.

"To enable all to overcome the controversy caused by the international tribunal, I believe the best way would be by having an impartial, transparent, and a just hearing that seeks to determine the whole truth. Only then could the Lebanese be assured that this tribunal is just," he said.

He rejected attempts aimed at undermining the Arab initiative for peace by denying the Palestinians their right to return.

"More specifically in Lebanon, it will dangerously alter the delicate balance of its existence as a nation based on diversity and coexistence among a large number of its sects," he said.