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    Democratic Renewal Movement Holds Talk on Syrian-Lebanese Accords

    The Lebanese Democratic Renewal Movement organized a lecture last Thursday under the title: “Revisiting the Lebanese Syrian Accords: Towards New Bilateral Relations” at which agreements previously signed between Lebanon and Syria were assessed. The lecture was attended by Lebanese scholars, experts, officials and others, dailies reported.

    Democratic Renewal Movement member Hares Sleiman presented a number of suggestions for amending the Treaty of Brotherhood, Cooperation, and Coordination, one of the key accords signed between Lebanon and Syria in 1991. He said that diplomatic relations between the two countries should be given priority, and the structure and function of the Syrian-Lebanese Higher Council (SLHC), an institution created by the Treaty of Brotherhood, should be reconsidered.
    Sleiman said that the SLHC is to be reevaluated “in order to see if there is still a need for it as diplomatic relations between Lebanon and Syria have been established.” He added that “if the SLHC is to be maintained then some terms and clauses in its document should be either cancelled or amended especially those which give the council the authority to making binding decisions that go against how things are constitutionally carried out in both countries.”
    The Treaty of Brotherhood, Cooperation, and Coordination linked Lebanon and Syria militarily, economically, and diplomatically and gave legal substantiation to Syrian hegemony over Lebanon.

    In his turn, Shafik al-Masry, university professor of international affairs and law, considered that “There is no need any more for the SLHC since diplomatic relations have been established.” Masry objected to the role of the SLHC asking, “Is it a legislative authority or an executive one?”

    Economic expert Marwan Iskandar talked about the free trade of agricultural products between Syria and Lebanon and
    the historical economic relations between the two countries. “Syria has constantly violated the agreements and relations since (former) Syrian Prime Minister Khaled al-Azem ended the customs relations between both countries.”

    Democratic Gathering MP, Marwan Hamadeh who participated in the Treaty of the Brotherhood, Cooperation, and
    Coordination as a (former) minister of Economy, said, “The problem has never been about texts (documents signed
    between Syria and Lebanon). We used to be given promises by (former) Syrian President Hafez al-Assad regarding Lebanese exports (to Syria), transit activities and others, but those promises were never fulfilled.” He added, “Good relations should be established between Lebanon and Syria, while taking into consideration that both countries are ruled by two different political systems. It’s not the agreements that are most important, but the way relations between Syria and Lebanon are approached,” he concluded.

    Academic professor, Issam Kalifeh, an expert on water resources, talked about how water and rivers that form part of the Lebanese-Syrian borders are actually being divided. He mentioned that “there’s a flaw in the agreement which stipulates how the Orontes River is to be shared between the two countries.”
    The Orontes River rises in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, and travels north and into Syria. It is an important source of water for irrigation.

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