Lahoud sees foreign plot to oust him

Emile Lahoud, the Lebanese President, has accused "foreign powers allied to Israel" of planning to oust him in favour of the country's main anti-Syrian coalition which has been calling on him to quit.

    Lahoud is considered a close ally of Syria

    In a letter to the Lebanese French-language daily newspaper L'Orient Le Jour published on Monday, the pro-Syrian Lahoud launched his most scathing attack against the parliamentary coalition led by Saad al-Hariri, the majority leader.
    Lahoud wrote: "The parliamentary majority, with the help of foreign powers allied to Israel, is now dividing the Lebanese people and setting them against each other, with the well-known goal of weakening Lebanon." 
    "These so called nationalists, backed by the same foreigners, have started to take over parliament, using an unfair electoral law which has brought into the chamber of deputies and the government a majority in their pay."
    The newspaper said that Lahoud was responding to an article criticising him, which was published on 25 Febuary. He stopped short of identifying any country by name.

    French connection?

    "The parliamentary majority, with the help of foreign powers allied to Israel, is now dividing the Lebanese people and setting them against each other"

    Emile Lahoud,
    Lebanese President


    But an unnamed presidential palace official has previously singled out France as one force supporting the anti-Syrian coalition to impeach the president.

    The extension of Lahoud's term in 2004 at Syria's behest has plunged Lebanon into political turmoil and set Damascus on a collision course with the international community. Syria ended its 29-year military presence in Lebanon in April.
    The coalition has launched a campaign to gather one million signatures demanding the ouster of Lahoud, under pressure to resign since the 14 Febuary 2005 killing of  Rafiq al-Hariri, the former prime minister. 
    The constitution lists high treason and breaching the constitution as grounds for impeachment. Lahoud says he is guilty of neither and insists he will serve out his term, which expires in 2007. 
    Saad's Future parliament bloc responded to Lahoud's letter saying he was misleading the Lebanese public to stay in office. In a statement, it said: "The article contains flagrant forgery of political and historical facts, and a clear attempt to provoke sectarianism."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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