World Bulletin / News Desk
President Michel Sleiman on Wednesday urged the international community to open up to Syria because of its key role in the region, Lebanese Daily star reported.
"The international community must open up to Syria, following the example set by France, because Syria plays a fundamental role at the regional level," Sleiman said in a statement released by the presidential palace.
He made his remarks at a meeting with an American delegation led by Deputy Assistant to the Undersecretary of State for Near East Affairs David Hale.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is set to visit Damascus on September 3 and 4 in the wake of the announcement by Syria and Lebanon that they will establish diplomatic relations for the first time.
Paris froze high-level contacts with Damascus after the assassination of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005.
"Developments in bilateral Lebanese-Syrian relations after the presidential summit in Damascus were the focus of talks between Sleiman and the US delegation," the statement said.
Bilateral cooperation in equipping and strengthening Lebanon's security forces was also discussed, it added.
Sleiman also raised the issue of recent Israeli threats against Lebanon, including one to attack civilian infrastructure should Hizbullah lead the government.
"Israel has no right to issue such threats, especially since Lebanon is abiding to UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which is being continuously violated by Israel," Sleiman was quoted as saying.
"The Israeli threats are direct violations of 1701 and I warn Israel against carrying on its threats," he added.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu al-Gheit said during a visit to Beirut on Wednesday that Egypt has urged Israel to stop making threats against Lebanon.
"We reject any threat to the unity and sovereignty of Lebanon ... especially from Israel," he told a news conference after meeting Sleiman.
"Yesterday [Tuesday] we spoke with the Israelis during Defense Minister Ehud Barak's visit to Egypt, and asked them to stop thinking about threatening this friendly Arab country," Abu al-Gheit said.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Ağustos 2008, 16:15