The Guardians of the Cedars issued the following communiqué:

The World Lebanese Directorate of the Party convened its weekly meeting to discuss the new developments in Lebanon, in particular the upcoming so-called presidential elections. The following is a summary of these discussions:

While the Taef regime is entertaining itself with the so-called presidential elections, the Lebanese people are busy securing their livelihood and are concerned about the direction taken by their nation. Again and again, there is only one way out of the crisis: The recovery of sovereignty, independence and free decision-making

The Syrian regime is deliberately distracting the people, directly or through its agents in Lebanon, with such issues as the "Lebanonization" of the elections, or saying that "all options are open" and toying with "renewing" versus "extending" the mandate of the sitting puppet president, or discussing which of Syria's men among the Lebanese would be a good candidate, or holding "consultations" in Damascus… All of this to distract the Lebanese people from the fundamental facts, which may be summarized in the following questions:

1. Did the Syrian regime leave anything intact in the "Lebanese Republic" after it completed in 1990 its occupation of Lebanon in all its dimensions, namely in the security, military, intelligence, economic, social, political, environmental, touristic, public health, and even demographic dimensions? Does the Syrian regime really expect the Lebanese people to give a damn about who will be their president?

2. Does the Syrian regime really believe that, after the terrorist attacks against the US in September 11, 2001, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and the Syria Accountability and Lebanese sovereignty Restoration Act, that Syria still holds any card in the Middle East and Lebanon as when it occupied Lebanon in 1976 with Arab and American endorsements? If it does, then let it continue playing its new-and-improved game, for this is evidence of its failure at reading into international developments, which will inevitably lead to its demise. No regrets on our part. As the saying goes, he who cooks up the poison shall die by it.

3. Does the Lebanese ruling political establishment believe that its reliance on the Syrian occupation to stay in power will last forever? Or is it that blatant collaboration has blinded it to the point where it does not realize that its days are counted and that its monopoly over the country's resources, its people and its treasury through theft, cronyism and suspicious projects is about to end? Or that its terrorizing the Lebanese people to the point of despair and emigration or subjugation, or that its jailing, exiling, and assassinating the resistance leaders, are all coming to an end soon and that the day of reckoning and accounting is close at hand

4. Do the Syrian occupation and its agents in Lebanon not know that their tricks are all under the lens of the international community that is watching every move they make, and that the Lebanese people no longer believe them? Syria is being gradually isolated by the international community, and the Lebanese people now truly understand their cause and their fate and continue to struggle by speaking up or rejecting the status quo, even as some among the Lebanese continue to be fooled, terrorized and subjugated.

The facts are clear and those who refuse to see are veiling their eyes and will bear responsibility for their actions. In consideration of current developments, the Guardians of the Cedars Party reiterate the following:

1. The presumed presidential elections are a distraction, another – and hopefully final – chapter in the hegemony of Syria over Lebanon, and the Lebanese people should express their rejection of that occupation by taking a stand or taking to the streets and using every other peaceful and civilized means available to them.

2. The succession of events since the beginning of the war against Lebanon has proven to everyone that Syria is the primary obstacle to a convergence of the Lebanese to a unified position. The dark annals of Syria's iron grip to prevent such a patriotic unification of the Lebanese people include murder, destruction, emigration and displacement, terror and hegemony. Evidence to this is Syria's intervention to delete a clause from a statement by Dar Al-Fatwa (The Grand Mufti's Office) opposing an amendment of the constitution for the sake of one individual, and demanding that the presidential elections be an expression of the will of the Lebanese people. This, of course, would be a unified position with that of Bkerki (The Maronite Patriarchal See), the opposition, and all the Lebanese people

3. There is no salvation for Lebanon except through the recovery by the country of its sovereignty, independence and free-will, through the evacuation of the Syrian army of occupation and a cessation of Syria's interference in Lebanon's internal affairs. This is what we are working for in all international venues and with the Lebanese people and our allies, and we will neither tire nor falter nor surrender before our objective is attained. And God willing, this objective is at hand

Lebanon, at your service
World Lebanese Directorate
27 August 2004