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Posted by Al Gordon on 22:42:48 2005/02/09
Minister Pettigrew must call on Syria to end illegal occupation of Lebanon and support for terror
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, 9 February 2005, Toronto, ON On his first trip to the Middle East, Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew will travel to Syrian-occupied Lebanon on Thursday and then onto Damascus, Syria on Friday and Saturday.
"As the representative of the Canadian people, Minister Pettigrew has a moral and geopolitical obligation to promote Canadian values including democracy, human rights, and an end to terrorism on his visit to Lebanon and Syria," said Alastair Gordon, president, Canadian Coalition for Democracies (CCD).
Since 1990, Syria has illegally occupied Lebanon. Despite UN Resolution 1559 calling on Syria to end its occupation of Lebanon, the Baathist Syrian regime continues to station over 14,000 troops on Lebanese soil and to control its puppet government in Beirut.
Unlike most Western democracies, including Britain, France, Australia, the United States and most European nations, Canada has failed to clearly support UN Resolution 1559 calling for the end of Syrian occupation of Lebanon. Canada continues to lend credibility to Syria and the Syrian-installed regime in Lebanon. Lebanon has never posed a military threat to Syria, or otherwise justified Syrian intervention in a sovereign neighbour. Under Syrian occupation, tens of thousands of Lebanese Christians have been killed, marginalized or forced into exile.
"As a Canadian, I am ashamed that Prime Minister Paul Martin and Minister Pettigrew are legitimizing the Syrian regime in Beirut and the presence of Syrian troops in Lebanon," said Naresh Raghubeer, executive director, CCD. "Canada took the commendable step of outlawing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in Canada. We must therefore not lend our credibility to the Syrian regime, Hezbollah's major backer."
"Prime Minister Paul Martin and Minister Pettigrew should do the right thing and publicly support UN Resolution 1559, while ending moral and financial support of the Syrian-installed government in Lebanon," said Raghubeer. "Instead of providing foreign aid to a dictatorial regime illegally occupying a sovereign nation, Canada should work through Lebanese NGOs to promote sovereignty, human rights, democracy and rule of law."
"Syria has been listed many times over as state promoter of terrorism in Israel, Lebanon, Iraq and across the Middle East. Minister Pettigrew must send a strong message that Canada does not support Syria s promotion of terrorism and its occupation of Lebanon," said Gordon. "If Prime Minister Paul Martin and Minister Pettigrew want Canada to be an honest broker in the Middle East peace process, they must identify and confront the real supporters of illegal occupation and terrorism, and end the appeasement of dictators."
For additional information, please contact:
Canadian Coalition for Democracies
PO Box 72602
345 Bloor Street East
Toronto, ON M4W 3J0 Canada
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