France and the United States sponsored a UN resolution opposed by Lebanon's Syrian-backed government which calls for an end to foreign interference and the withdrawal of foreign troops, in a clear message to Damascus.

"Our national dignity is violated each time we receive one of these ambassadors," Karami said in remarks the  Lebanese press said were clearly directed at the US and French diplomats.

"This interference in our internal affairs is shameful and unacceptable, and there is not one Lebanese who can accept such insolence," he said in a speech at a Sunni Muslim community centre.

Support pledged

Lebanon's present government is
a firm defender of Syrian policies

Karami lashed out at UN Security Council Resolution 1559 which he branded "a proposal for sedition" that his country would continue to oppose.

"We will not stab Syria in the back," he pledged.

US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage made a fresh appeal last week for Syria to end its military presence in Lebanon.

Resolution 1559 was a clear message to Damascus, which has about 14,000 troops stationed in Lebanon and which the US says dominates the political scene in its smaller neighbour.

Also last week, the US embassy issued a statement that Washington and its allies would closely watch the election contest between the pro- and anti-Syrian camps for the legislative polls due in May.