Newsweek Interview: Rafiq Hariri, Lebanese Prime Minister

Hariri Says Region 'Is Heading for Instability,' but Beirut will not Deploy

Army to Southern Border with Israel



Says Bush Claims to be as Committed to Peace in the Middle East as

Previous Administration, Premier Says



Apr 29, 2001, 01:00 ET from Newsweek

    NEW YORK, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri
 tells Newsweek International in the current issue that the region is not
 heading towards peace negotiations, instead, "it is heading for
 instability ... " However, the premier says in an interview with Contributing
 Editor Lally Weymouth in the May 7 issue (on newsstands Monday, April 30) that
 he will not send an army to southern Lebanon along the border with Israel,
 where Hizbullah, the Syrian-backed guerrilla group, launches attacks against
 the Jewish state.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010429/HSSU001 )
     "Israel withdrew from Lebanon on May 25 but continues to violate our
 airspace and our water by [having] planes survey all the time ... The most
 important thing is not to send an army [to the border] but to achieve a peace
 agreement," Hariri says, adding that "nobody wants to see a war or attacks.
 This land is our land and I would like to see Israel leave as soon as
 possible."
     However the premier says he is ready to make peace with the new Israeli
 leader Ariel Sharon. "I am the first Arab leader who said we know his past and
 remember him with sadness. But the day he became prime minister I announced
 that despite all that happened to us because of him personally, we are ready
 to make peace with Sharon." And he adds that it is "difficult" to imagine any
 progress in peace talks between Israel and Syria because of the current
 stalemate between the Israelis and the Palestinians. "We have to see what will
 happen with the Palestinian-Israeli track. It is difficult for any Arab to
 move toward any solution because of what is going on in the West Bank and
 Gaza."
     As to Syrian troops stationed in Lebanon, Hariri says they will leave when
 the timing is right. "They will withdraw when we see it is necessary, but now
 they are needed."
     The Lebanese leader also said his meeting with President George W. Bush in
 Washington last week went well. "My impression is that the president is keen
 to see peace in the Middle East and wants to encourage moderate governments
 that are working hard to achieve [it]. He said if there is an impression in
 the area that he is not as committed to peace as the previous administration,
 this impression is not correct."
 
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               http://www.Newsweek.MSNBC.com. Click "Pressroom.")
 
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SOURCE Newsweek
    NEW YORK, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri
 tells Newsweek International in the current issue that the region is not
 heading towards peace negotiations, instead, "it is heading for
 instability ... " However, the premier says in an interview with Contributing
 Editor Lally Weymouth in the May 7 issue (on newsstands Monday, April 30) that
 he will not send an army to southern Lebanon along the border with Israel,
 where Hizbullah, the Syrian-backed guerrilla group, launches attacks against
 the Jewish state.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010429/HSSU001 )
     "Israel withdrew from Lebanon on May 25 but continues to violate our
 airspace and our water by [having] planes survey all the time ... The most
 important thing is not to send an army [to the border] but to achieve a peace
 agreement," Hariri says, adding that "nobody wants to see a war or attacks.
 This land is our land and I would like to see Israel leave as soon as
 possible."
     However the premier says he is ready to make peace with the new Israeli
 leader Ariel Sharon. "I am the first Arab leader who said we know his past and
 remember him with sadness. But the day he became prime minister I announced
 that despite all that happened to us because of him personally, we are ready
 to make peace with Sharon." And he adds that it is "difficult" to imagine any
 progress in peace talks between Israel and Syria because of the current
 stalemate between the Israelis and the Palestinians. "We have to see what will
 happen with the Palestinian-Israeli track. It is difficult for any Arab to
 move toward any solution because of what is going on in the West Bank and
 Gaza."
     As to Syrian troops stationed in Lebanon, Hariri says they will leave when
 the timing is right. "They will withdraw when we see it is necessary, but now
 they are needed."
     The Lebanese leader also said his meeting with President George W. Bush in
 Washington last week went well. "My impression is that the president is keen
 to see peace in the Middle East and wants to encourage moderate governments
 that are working hard to achieve [it]. He said if there is an impression in
 the area that he is not as committed to peace as the previous administration,
 this impression is not correct."
 
                        (Read Newsweek news releases at
               http://www.Newsweek.MSNBC.com. Click "Pressroom.")
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -- Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X38316517
 
 SOURCE  Newsweek