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Sunday, December 30, 2007

France Suspends Diplomatic Contacts with Syria

Hat Tip to Don Surber, who points us to a BBC report about statements from the president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy regarding the suspension of diplomatic contacts with Syria.

Links will be restored only when France has proof that Syria is not blocking progress towards installing a consensus president in Lebanon, Mr Sarkozy said.

Lebanon has been without a president since November, as rival pro- and anti- Syrian factions argue over who should fill the post.

"I ask Syria to... work to create agreement," said Mr Sarkozy.

France "will not make any more contacts with Syria... as long as there is no proof of Syria's willingness to let Lebanon choose a consensus president," he told reporters, during a visit to Egypt.

Actions speak louder than words and according to The International Herald Tribune, Sarkozy is echoing those sentiments with the statement "France has taken the responsibility of talking with Syria. One must recognize today that we cannot wait any longer, Syria must stop talking and now must act."

On November 23, 2007, pro-Syrian leader Émile Lahoud, stepped down at the end of his term. The election for a new President in Lebanon has been delayed 11 times because opposition boycotts have hindered the process to choose a president by preventing a quorum in Parliament.

AFP reports other statements from Sarkozy as well as pointing out that Bush said earlier this month that his " patience ran out on President Assad a long time ago."

"It's time for Syria to prove with facts what it has not stopped saying in speeches," Sarkozy said. "We are now waiting for acts on Syria's part and not speeches."

France is also going ahead with plans to free up funds on order to complete the international tribunal intended to try those behind a series of assassinations in Lebanon that began with the murder of former premier Rafiq Hariri in 2005.

Syria has been accused of being behind that assassination but has denied involvement and has done everything in their power to stop the tribunal meant to determine who is responsible for Hariri's murder.

The Lebanon Daily Star gives an excellent overview of the problems that have plagued Lebanon in 2007, from civil unrest to political inertia.

Syria has been a destabilizing force for Lebanon and Sarkozy, Bush and other leaders of the international community seem to be fed up with Syria saying one thing then doing another.