Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)

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March 5/2005

For Immediate Release

The Syrian Baathist Leadership can not be trusted

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced today that Syrian troops would start a gradual pullback in Lebanon. "We will pull all our forces in Lebanon to the Bekaa area and from there to the Syrian-Lebanese border," Mr. Assad said in a speech to parliament. He said he had agreed with Lebanon's President Emile Lahoud to hold a joint meeting next week to approve
 the plan. "By this measure Syria would have fulfilled its commitment towards the Taif Accord and implemented (UN Security Council) Resolution 1559," he said.
 The majority of the Lebanese people both in occupied Lebanon and Diaspora did not sense in Mr. Assad's speech of today any definite or clear commitment to completely withdraw his occupation army and its brutal secret intelligence services from Lebanon in accordance with UN Resolution 1559 and with a clearly stated timetable. His declaration was vague, deceptive
 and as always camouflaged by justifications of delusional Syrian strategic interests.
 On behalf of the Lebanese Canadian NGOs and our Lebanese Canadian community who advocate for a free, democratic, sovereign and independent Lebanon, we call on the Free World countries and the United Nations to maintain their pressure on the Syrian Baathists to completely and fully abide by UN Resolution 1559 and not to bow to any Syrian procrastination.
 Mr. Edmond El Chidiac, the Media Chairman of CLHRF, cautions peace and democracy advocates from falling into Assad's trap and asserts that both the Lebanese as well as the Syrian people do not by any way trust the Syrian Baathist leadership who has been brutally oppressing them for the last thirty years. He added: "We will know no rest, nor the free world should,
 until the despotic Syrian occupation of Lebanon has come to an end, and the Syrian-installed Lebanese officials are replaced by authentic representatives of the Lebanese people's wishes, aspirations, hopes and eagerness for freedom and democracy".
 CLHRF hails President George Bush's ongoing strong and unambiguous support for a free, independent and sovereign Lebanon, and calls on the Canadian government to make its stance louder and more vocal.
 CLHRF greatly appreciates the Canadian public's strong sympathy with the suffering and struggle of the Lebanese people.
 Long Live Freedom
 Elias Bejjani
 CLHRF, Spokesman, LCCC Media Chairman