The diplomatic sources estimated that Lahoud’s remarks were made following similar messages from Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, who told United Nations Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larson that he would like to resume peace talks with Israel without conditions.
It is believed the Lebanese president’s remarks were a direct result of pressure from Damascus, which has a great deal of influence over Beirut. “Of course, there is a connection between the two countries, but I still feel that there is a positive approach here,” one senior diplomatic source told NRG Maariv.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s bureau said in response that if the Lebanese president wishes to demonstrate his real intentions, he must deploy soldiers along the border with Israel in order to curb Hizbullah militants in southern Lebanon. However, sources said his remarks should be examined and not rejected outright.
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