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Statement of Presidential Candidate Bill Clinton on Lebanon (Excerpts)

This statement was made on September 18, 1992, during the US presidential campaign, before a gathering of Lebanese-Americans in Washington DC.

“Senator Gore and I extend to you our warmest greetings.

“Lebanese Americans have played a great role in the history of the United States, with major achievements in medicine, business, law, government and the arts. All Americans have watched with sadness the tragic war in Lebanon and now join together in a renewed hope that peace will soon return to that troubled land. As the Lebanese work to rebuild their country and reinvigorate Lebanon’s democratic traditions. For we have not forgotten our own war of the past century and the effort it took to rebuild our nation.

“As we address the issues in this campaign, Senator Gore and I are closely following Lebanon’s struggle to establish democracy. The recent parliamentary elections in Lebanon cannot be considered free and fair. No international observers were allowed, and virtually the entire election system was flawed. There are some 40,000 Syrian troops occupying Lebanon. The resulting boycott by large parts of the Christian community has further rendered the election results unrepresentative. Obviously, the withdrawal of Syrian troops is essential to Lebanon’s regaining its independence.

“The Bush Administration appears willing to sacrifice the prospects for an independent Lebanon in order to curry favor with Syria’s dictator, Hafiz al-Asad. to acquiesce now to Syria’s control over Lebanon would show disdain for our long-standing commitment to Lebanon’s territorial integrity and independence.

“If a more representative government is formed, it should be possible for the United States to support that government and enhance is independence through such steps as restoration of consular services and an Agency for International Development mission, and provision of targeted economic assistance. I look forward to working with Lebanese Americans to help make Lebanon’s dream of a new era of peace, prosperity, and democracy a reality.

“Our campaign has stressed the importance of every American. We feel kinship with a Lebanese-American community that has always maintained a traditional respect for the institutions of community and family -- keystones of the American experience -- and that has always placed a premium on educating the next generation in order to ensure a bright future. The commitment to education that Americans and Lebanese share is enshrined in the halls of the American University of Beirut.

“This election is very important to all Americans. It is our time to renew our hope for the future of this nation..

“Through your dedication to the principles of constitutional democracy and your faith in America’s future, you have made the Lebanese-American community a vital force in our society and an aspiration to all Americans.”

 

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Source:
The Beirut Review: No. 4, Fall 1992, The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies

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