Lebanese president refuses to quit

The president of Lebanon has rejected demands by the country's anti-Syrian coalition to resign, vowing to complete his tenure, which expires in 2007.

    Calls have intensified for Emile Lahoud to resign

    The office of Emile Lahoud, the president, in a tough-worded statement on Wednesday said that 

    "the president has never cared about threats regardless of their source, never backed away from challenges and never yielded to blackmail".

    "

    He is committed to his oath (as president) until the last
    day of his constitutional tenure."
       
    Calls for Lahoud's resignation have intensified since the 14 February 2005 assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former prime minister, and the subsequent withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. 

    Mass rally

       
    In a mass rally marking the anniversary of his killing, Saad al-Hariri, the son of Rafiq al-Hariri and the parliament majority leader, branded Lahoud an agent of Syria, while Walid Jumblatt, a Druze leader, all but called for a national revolt to oust him.
       
    Lahoud's office said the president reserved the right to take legal action against Jumblatt's repeated attacks.
       
    Many in Lebanon believe Syrian pressure to extend Lahoud's term by three years in 2004 sparked a head-on collision between Rafiq al-Hariri and Damascus that led to his killing.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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