This speech was delivered by Etienne Sakr at a conference arranged by the World Lebanese Organizations (WLO) in Washington the 27th of June 1998.

Ladies and gentlemen:
    It has been 22 years and the Lebanese tragedy is still going on. Unfortunately, The western world is still watching our tragedy passively, knowing that the major cause of this tragedy is the Syrian occupation of Lebanon.

    Syria has deployed 40 thousands soldiers since 1976 all over the country depriving us from our independence and freedom. They have allowed about 2 million illegal workers into Lebanon. This is depriving our economy and creating a serious crisis of unemployment in our country.

    What is hurting us as Lebanese is that the western world is allowing Syria to devour Lebanon at a time when Syria still remains on the list of countries supporting terrorism?

    It is beyond understanding why some U.S. officials still see the Syrians as peace makers, when in fact they are terrorists and trouble makers. There will be no end to our tragedy as long as Syria is dominating Lebanon. A Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon will be the beginning of a solution to end this tragedy.

    We ask, Is the U.S. Administration aware of the Syrian danger in Lebanon and keeping silent? That would be a real shame. Or, is the U.S. Administration not aware of the Syrian danger in Lebanon? That would be a greater shame.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we are here today to focus on the real Syrian danger, threatening not only peace in Lebanon, but also peace in the middle east. We have been fighting the Syrian occupation in Lebanon and its satellite terrorist groups for the last 22 years. And we are still doing that today from the security zone and Jezzine in south Lebanon, because we have promised our people to preserve in this fight until we liberate our beloved country and gain back our freedom.

    Ladies and gentlemen, A free Lebanon is not only able to sign a peace treaty with Israel, but he is also able to lead the peace process in the middle east.

So please, help us to free Lebanon.
Thank you.

Etienne Sakr (ABU - ARZ)
Head of the guardians of the cedars &
Chairman of the Lebanese Front.