American Lebanese Institute
20045 National Press Building
Washington, DC 20045
(202) 298-1201
April 20, 2000

His Excellency Mr. Alain Richard
The French Defense Minister
14 Rue Saint Dominique
00415 Armees, France

Dear Mr. Richard:
The American Lebanese Institute totally agrees with your view that Syria does not want an agreement with Israel which would destabilize its domination over Lebanon. Damascus places its continued control of Lebanon above making peace with Israel and regaining the Golan Heights. The Institute appreciates your frankness and right assessment.
The American Lebanese community welcomes wholeheartedly the withdrawal of Israel from Lebanon and looks forward to see a speedy Syrian withdrawal too.
No solution to the situation in Lebanon is possible without the withdrawal of all foreign occupation forces including those of Syria. One critical element in restoring Lebanon's sovereignty, independence and freedom is the commitment by France and the United States to blunt the various political and military attempts by Syria to stay in Lebanon.
The Institute is certain that France, the traditional and historic friend of the Lebanese people, will not abandon Lebanon at this critical juncture.
Daniel Nassif
Executive Director