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Bush On U.S. - Lebanon Relations

President George W. Bush says Lebanon “can serve as a great example (to other countries) of what is possible” in the Middle East".

Following a meeting at the White House with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, Mr. Bush said that the United States "strongly supports a free and independent and sovereign Lebanon". He recalled the 2005 Cedar Revolution, in which hundreds of thousands of Lebanese protested against and forced the withdrawal of Syrian troops from their country:

"We took great joy in seeing the Cedar Revolution. We understand that the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the street to express their desire to be free required courage, and we support the desire of the people to have a government responsive to their needs and a government that is free, truly free."

President Bush recalled Lebanon’s “great tradition” of serving “as a model of entrepreneurship and prosperity”. He also called for a full investigation into the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, which helped spur the Cedar Revolution.

Prime Minister Siniora said the United States “has been of great support” to Lebanon, which has gone through "major changes" in the past year-and-a-half:

" Lebanon has really been committing itself that we want the change to happen to -- in a democratic and a peaceful manner, but at the same time, to really stay course -- on course; that we are there to meet the expectations of the people to have a united, liberal, free country, and, at the same time, prosperous economy. . . .The United States has been of great support to Lebanon. I am really convinced that President Bush and the United States will stand beside Lebanon to have Lebanon stay as a free, democratic, united, and sovereign state."

"Out of the tough times [Lebanon] has been through," said President Bush, "will rise a state that shows that it's possible for people of religious difference to live side-by-side in peace; to show that it's possible for people to put aside past histories to live together in. . . .peace and hope and opportunity."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.