Lebanese Envoy Urges Withdrawal

Lebanon called today for the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Lebanon and the restoration of Lebanese independence and sovereignty to the Lebanese people.

Ambassador Ghossan Tueni, in an address to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Disarmament, declared that “Lebanon should never again be the arena where friends and foes find it convenient to wage their wars.”

He stressed that “Lebanon should have a strong national army, not merely as a protection against further destabilization, but as a catalyst, integrating a traditionally pluralistic society capable of absorbing and containing present fragmentary forces.” He added that Lebanon’s security and independence “should not remain contingent upon extraterritorial considerations of any sort, whether regional or international.”

Tueni said the Lebanese alone must decide their future for themselves and that they are determined to achieve peace in their country without waiting for the achievement of a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East.

The Lebanese Ambassador said his country, “should never again allow its liberty to be taken hostage by those to whom it was extended,” a clear reference to the Palestine Liberation Organization. “Our reservations, past and present, concerning Palestinian military activity in Lebanon do not undermine our solidarity with the Palestinian cause,” he added. He said the present war in Lebanon was “becoming a danger, not to Lebanon alone, but to others as well, and probably the entire world.”

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