Lebanese, Syrian ties holding steady

Aug. 24, 2012 at 11:35 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- The Lebanese foreign minister said there's nothing in his country that would warrant the severing of diplomatic affairs with Syrian representatives.

Violence in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli between pro- and anti-Syrian factions sparked fears that civil war in Syria would spill over the Lebanese border.

A cease-fire collapsed Friday after four days of violence left at least 12 people dead and several others injured in Tripoli.

The Cedar Revolution in Lebanon in 2005 forced Syrian forces out of the country, ending years of political dominance during the Lebanese civil war. Syria in 2008 opened its embassy in Beirut for the first time since independence in the 1940s. Beirut followed suit the following year.

Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reported this week that Syrian military helicopters crossed the border flying at a low altitude. Lebanese Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour, however, said there was no reason to cut diplomatic ties with Syrian representatives.

"There is nothing that warrants the expulsion of the ambassador or the withdrawal of Lebanon's ambassador to Syria because of the lack of convincing reasons and motives to do so," he was quoted by Lebanese news portal Ya Libnan as saying.

Jeffrey Feltman, a former Middle East envoy for the U.S. State Department serving as U.N. undersecretary-general, told the U.N. Security Council that the situation in Lebanese was "precarious."

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