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Merkel, Chirac urge Syria not to meddle in Lebanon

Written by: Staff
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METTLACH, Germany, Dec 5 (Reuters) The leaders of France and Germany urged Syria today not to interfere in Lebanon but to contribute constructively to efforts aimed at bringing peace and stability to its neighbour.

''France and Germany call for an end to all interference in the affairs of Lebanon,'' German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Jacques Chirac said in a joint statement issued after a meeting in Mettlach, Germany.

''They wish that Syria will no longer support forces that want to destabilise Lebanon and the region,'' the statement said.

''Through a change in its behaviour Syria can hope to develop the normal relations it desires with the international community, including the countries of the European Union.'' The leaders of the two European Union heavyweights also ''called on all parties in Lebanon to be aware of their responsibility to find their way back to dialogue so that all problems can be resolved by the country's democratic institutions.'' Merkel and Chirac also expressed their full support for Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

Yesterday, Lebanon's army deployed more soldiers in Beirut on Monday after the killing of a pro-Syrian Shi'ite Muslim demonstrator raised fears anti-government protests could turn into sectarian violence.

REUTERS PDM BS1724

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