UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) — Lebanese President Michel Sleiman on Friday rejected "any form" of Palestinian settlement of refugees in Lebanon, saying that their "position will neither be compromised nor reversed."

    Addressing the general debate of the United Nations General Assembly, which entered its third day here Friday, Sleiman stated that "any solution for the Middle East crisis should be founded on a pre-determined and integrated scheme, the basic elements of which have been mapped out in the resolutions of international legitimacy …"

    Reiterating the UN’s resolution to "international legitimacy," he pushed in his speech for the withdrawal of Israel from Arab occupied territories.

    The situation of Palestinian refugees is "first and foremost a political situation," and the "Palestinian cause is at the heart of the Middle East crisis," Sleiman said, expressing his support for an independent and sovereign Palestinian state.

    "Until a just and final solution for their tragedy has been reached, we fully support all efforts aiming at reinforcing the UNRWA’s (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) programs and capabilities, enabling it to improve the living standards and human conditions of the refugees, in collaboration with the hosting countries," Sleiman said.

    Also asserting Lebanon’s commitment in the UN Security Council resolution 1701, which called for a cease-fire of hostilities in 2006, Sleiman called for the reinforcement by the international community "to continue its quest to compel Israel to implement all the provisions of resolution 1701."

Meanwhile, Sleiman said that Israel "has not shown such a will, for the soundness and usefulness of a just peace," and he strongly urged the international community to step up "appropriate means of pressure to compel Israel to fulfill its international obligations towards the peace process."

    "Lebanon will pursue its international efforts to force Israel to pay due compensation for the full damage it caused through its repeated aggressions against Lebanon," he said.

    In reaffirming their commitment to the Charter of the United Nations, Sleiman said he "looks forward with hope and confidence" in their election for non-permanent seat of the Security council, and said that Lebanon will withhold to the UN Charter. 



Sleiman voices hopes for Lebanese seat on Security Council

BEIRUT: President Michel Slei­man stressed Friday Lebanon’s commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 1701 as well as its rejection of the naturalization of Palestinian refugees in order to preserve their right of return to their homeland. Addressing the 64th UN General Assembly at its headquarters in New York, Sleiman also expressed hope with regard to Lebanon’s election for a nonpermanent UN Security Council seat for the next two years. 


“Any solution to the Palestinian refugees’ issue cannot disregard their natural and legitimate right to return to their homeland or conflict with the hosting country’s national interests and sovereignty; thus Lebanon rejects any form of naturalization in accordance with the Constitution and in defense of the refugees’ right of return,” Sleiman said. 


“The resolution of the Palestinian refugees’ issue is foremost political, and we support all efforts to improve their living and humanitarian conditions, awaiting a just and comprehensive solution to end their suffering,” the lebanese leader added. 


Sleiman said Lebanon looked forward to being elected for a rotating seat on the United Nations Security Council for the next two years. 


“Lebanon reiterates today its commitment to the UN Charter and international resolutions, particularly Resolution 1701,” Sleiman said. 


“We stress our readiness to participate responsibly and seriously during the next two years in the Security Council meetings and its ensuing decisions in order to serve best the cause of security and peace in the Middle East,” he added. 


The president urged the international community to pressure Israel into the full implementation of Resolution 1701 including its full withdrawal from occupied Lebanese territories such as the Shebaa Farms, Kfarshouba Hills and the northern part of the Ghajar village. 

Sleiman also called on the UN to force Israel to halt its daily violations of Lebanese sovereignty and its continuous threats against the country’s institutions and its infrastructure. 


“Lebanon succeeded last year to preserve its domestic stability, dismantle Israeli spy networks and several terrorist cells and persevered in its efforts to implement Resolution 1701,” Sleiman said. 


Tackling the summer 2006 war with Israel, Sleiman emphasized that the Lebanese government would focus its efforts on compelling Israel to compensate for the damage resulting from the war. 


Sleiman also discussed bilateral ties for the second consecutive day with French President Nicolas Sarkozy prior to the latter’s participation in a Security Council closed meeting. 


For his part, Sarkozy stressed France’s support for Lebanon in international arenas, and he expressed hope that Lebanese groups would reach a prompt agreement on the cabinet formation in order to strengthen Lebanon ahead of upcoming challenges. 


Sleiman also met with the Iranian and Austrian presidents, the head of the Palestinian Authority, the Turkish and Egyptian premiers and Qatari ruler Prince Hamad bin Khalifah al-Thani. 


Separately, Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh discussed with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman developments with regard to the Middle East peace process in light of American efforts to resume negotiations.