- Press Release -

Media & Public Relation Office

Washington DC - March 30, 2007


**Meetings were excellent and productive**

Washington, D.C. - Within the context of periodic visits by the American Lebanese Coalition (ALC) to members of the US Congress and to senior administration officials, a delegation of leaders of ALC, led by ALC President Dr. Joseph Gebeily, held a series of meetings in the past three days with senior White House officials; leading members of Congress; members of congressional committees that deal with foreign relations, defense and with Middle East affairs; high ranking officials at the National Security Council, the Department of State and the Department of Defense. The delegation included Milad Zohrob, Dr. Elie Semaan, Adib Farha, Fadi Farhat, Paul Hindi, and Michael Joseph.
    The delegation presented each of its interlocutors with a comprehensive policy paper that delineated ALC’s positions on fundamental issues of concern to the Lebanese American community. These positions included complete compliance with the wording and the spirit of Lebanese Constitution vis a vis the election of a new president for the Republic of Lebanon and the democratic and uneventful transfer of presidential powers and of the official seat of the presidency to the next constitutionally-elected president; enactment by the United Nations of the international tribunal that would try the assassins of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and of other martyrs of the Cedar Revolution; illegal weapons held by Lebanese and by non-Lebanese militiamen on Lebanese soil; rapid and final resolution of the issue of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon; opposition to repatriating Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and the dangerous ramifications of naturalizing them on Lebanon’s precarious demographic make-up; safeguarding Lebanon’s sovereignty; supporting the Lebanese Army and other Lebanese armed forces; supporting the Lebanese economy and its Treasury; full and urgent implementation of all UN Security Council resolutions relevant to Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence, including but not limited to UNSC Resolutions 1559, 1680 and 1701; demarcation of the Lebanese-Syrian border, starting with the Shebaa Farms without further delays; expanding the UNIFIL’s mandate to include the monitoring of the Syrian-Lebanese borders; enacting a new, reformed and equitable legislative election law following the next presidential elections, to achieve true representation of the various components of the Lebanon’s pluralistic society; supporting non-governmental organizations that genuinely and unequivocally champion freedom and democracy in Lebanon; the return of Lebanese prisoners in Syrian jails; the return of Lebanese citizens who were forcefully exiled from Lebanon into Israel and other countries; and the rapid return to their homes and to their villages of Lebanese citizens who were displaced during the Lebanese civil war.
    The delegation also expressed its opposition to congressional visits to Damascus.  It emphasized that while the pro-sovereignty Lebanese welcome the visit of any American official to Beirut, the visit by the delegation headed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Damascus next week would send and the wrong message to the Syrian regime and to its supporters.  Administration officials made it unequivocally clear that while “the administration does not condone such congressional visits, those visits are strictly exploratory in nature and in no way do they reflect any change in policy on Syria”.
    Moreover, the delegation emphasized the need to respect the fundamental principles of non-interference in Lebanese affairs by regional powers and the disengagement of Lebanon from all regional conflicts and of sustaining a consensual democracy, which guarantees the rights of individuals and communities in a pluralistic society that is inherently comprised of minorities.
    At the end of the series of meetings, ALC President Dr. Joseph Gebeily stated, “Points of view were compatible on all issues”.  He described the outcome of the meetings as, “Excellent and fruitful”. 

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