Lebanon rejects U.S. criticism of cabinet

Oct. 27, 2004 at 7:27 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Lebanon Wednesday rejected U.S. criticism Syria dictated the make-up of the the new 30-member government of Premier Omar Karami.

Information Minister Elie Ferzili said after the first meeting of the new cabinet Lebanon has "no need" for lectures from Washington on independence and sovereignty.

Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Hayat as saying the new Lebanese government was formed in Damascus and constituted yet another breach of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, which called on Syria to stop meddling in Lebanese internal affairs.

Karami Tuesday formed the new government, excluding politicians who opposed the extension of President Emile Lahoud's mandate by another three years.

The appointed ministers all belong to camps close to Syria and to Lahoud, who is Syria's staunchest ally in Lebanon.

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