Mubarak: Foreign Powers will be “Obliged” to send forces to support Lebanon’s pro-US government

Standoff between government and opposition demonstrators risks provoking foreign interference

The United States interfered once again to help the beleaguered and unconstitutional government of Fouad Saniora.

US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Washington denounced what he called “threats of intimidation or violence” which “are aimed at toppling Lebanon’s legitimate and democratically elected government”. Casey repeated accusations that Syria and Iran are  instigating what he termed as show of force “to destabilize Lebanon”.  

For its part, Egypt warned that the standoff between Lebanon’s US-backed government and opposition demonstrators risked provoking foreign interference that could erupt into violence. Following a meeting in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, President Hosni Mubarak criticized the mass protest led by Lebanese opposition to demand the government quit. He said, “I find this behavior very unwise, for I fear these protests are sectarian and reinforcements will come from outside to broaden the demonstrations, what would lead to fighting and destruction.”

“I do not want to accuse Syria or Iran, but Iran could send (people to support) Hezbollah, then other countries will be obliged to send people to support Saniora. This will be a problem. I fear an internationalization of this situation which risks destroying Lebanon,” Mubarak said. The Egyptian leader’s stance came after Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdel Aziz called Saniora and expressed his support to him and his ministers.

Speaking from Beirut, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett expressed her support for the Lebanese Prime Minister and called on Lebanon’s “feuding factions” to return to dialogue.

Meanwhile the head of the Future Movement bloc, MP Saad Hariri received a phone call at night from French President Jacque Chirac. Hariri’s office issued a statement saying that Chirac assured that France is still preparing for Paris 3 conference with Prime Minister Fouad Saniora.

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