For Immediate Release
March 7, 2005
From remarks by Secretary of State Rice, 3/3/05 and 3/4/05
The Syrians have not yet withdrawn their troops from Lebanon, and the international community will not be satisfied until Syria has done so.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 is sponsored by the United States and France. There are now calls from important Arab countries like Saudi Arabia for Syria to withdraw.
Resolution 1559 was clear. It meant the withdrawal of all Syrian forces and Syrian security personnel from Lebanon.
Syrian forces and Syrian security personnel cast a long shadow over Lebanon, and over the hopes and aspirations of the Lebanese people to be able to pursue their political aspirations free of foreign interference.
The spirit of the Iraqi people exercising the democratic franchise for the first time in the center of the Middle East has had an effect on Lebanon.
Many people have been willing to say that the Middle East was somehow different - that somehow Islam was incompatible with democracy, and that somehow the people there didn't care about the same freedoms and rights that we enjoy.
The Iraqi people expressed the idea that freedom is a universal aspiration by being willing to go to the polls. They went despite the threats, harassment, and violence being perpetrated against them, and some were even willing to die for freedom.
The people in the streets of Lebanon want to be able to carry out their aspirations free of foreign interference, and to build a unified Lebanon.
A growing number of people in the Middle East are expressing the fact that you don't have to impose democracy. Democracy and the desire to be free are as natural as breathing.