President Bush's Letter to the 41st Annual Convention of the
National Apostolate of Maronites.
THE WHITE HOUSE -WASHINGTON
July 16, 2004
BUSH: US looks forward for elections in Lebanon that respect Lebanon's constitution
and a future for Lebanon that is independent, fully sovereign and free of foreign interference or domination.
I send greetings to those gathered for the 41st Annual Convention of the National Apostolate of Maronites.
The United States believes that all people in the Middle East deserve to live under free and peaceful governments. We are pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the region because the advance of freedom leads to peace. As one of the first countries to establish the institutions of democracy in the Middle East, Lebanon has long served as a bridge between East and West. This is an important election year in Lebanon. The United States looks forward to elections in Lebanon that respect Lebanon's constitutions and a future for Lebanon that is independent, fully sovereign, and free of foreign interference or domination.
To help achieve these goals, I signed into law the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act in December 2003. This measure called for the impositions of sanctions if Syria failed to meet several important requirements, including the withdrawal of its military and security presence from Lebanon. Because Syria has failed to take concrete steps to address the concerns we raised, I issued an Executive Order on May 11, 204, implementing sanctions that will significantly reduce the level of trade and commercial activity between the United States and Syria. When Syria joins efforts to build a Middle east that is stable, secure, and free from terror and violence, including a free and independent Lebanon, the United States will respond positively.
I commend NAM members for preserving your traditions and educating others about your culture.
By fostering pride in the Maronite Church and promoting fellowship among individuals, NAM strengthens America's spiritual foundation and enriches our society. Through a firm belief in the power of freedom and democracy, NAM also helps advance peace and prosperity in Lebanon and the Greater Middle east. Your efforts make America a better place and extend the journey of democracy.
Lara joins me in sending our best wishes
President George Bush