memorandum by Mr Tobias Zech, rapporteur
1 On April 2015, I tabled, together
with other members of the Parliamentary Assembly, a motion for a resolution
on “The situation in Lebanon and challenges for regional stability
and European security”. On 22 June 2015, the Assembly referred the
motion to the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy and on 30 September
2015 the committee appointed me as rapporteur.
2 On 8 March 2016, the committee held an exchange of views with
Mr Julien Barnes-Dacey, Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council
on Foreign Relations in London.
3 On 15 and 16 June 2016, I carried out a fact-finding visit
to Lebanon. I had the opportunity to meet representatives from German
political foundations and from civil society organisations and representatives
of 10 different political parties. I was also able to exchange views
with several European diplomats and representatives of international
4 Finally, on 13 October 2016, the committee considered a preliminary
draft report, which I subsequently revised to take into account
comments made by committee members.
5 Lebanon is a small country
with an estimated population of roughly 6 million inhabitants, including 2 million
refugees. Lebanon also has a certain religious diversity. It is
estimated that some 54% of the population is Muslim (roughly 27%
Sunni, 27% Shia), 40.5% of the population is Christian, 5.5% are
Druze and then there are also small communities of Jews, Baha’is,
Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons. Lebanon is the Arab country with
the highest number of Christians. The last population census took
place in 1932, when the population of Lebanon was less than 800 000.
6 Despite its relatively small population and territory, Lebanon
is a regional centre for trade and finance. However, it is currently
experiencing a very serious situation: on one hand, a complex political
crisis for more than two years and, on the other, an important influx
of refugees from Syria, estimated at 1.5 million, which add to the
many refugees already there. Some 450 000 Palestinian refugees are
registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
in Lebanon, mainly living in the country’s 12 refugee camps; some
have been there for the last 60 years and some are in their fourth
7 The refugee crisis is becoming unsustainable for Lebanon in
many respects: municipalities, on which the responsibility falls,
are unable to provide adequate food, sanitation, health care or
schooling and it is civil society, together with international organisations,
which is trying to cope with the situation. More international solidarity
is clearly needed. The economic situation in general is dire and
youth unemployment is huge.
8 In July and August 2006, there was a war between the Israeli
Defense Forces and Hezbollah’s paramilitary wing, which is believed
to have killed around 1 200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 165
Israelis, including 44 civilians. It severely damaged Lebanese civil
infrastructure, and displaced approximately one million Lebanese
and some 400 000 Israelis. A ceasefire, based on United Nations
Security Council Resolution 1701, was accepted by both belligerents
and came into effect on 14 August 2006. Since then, relations between
Israel and Lebanon have been tense, the border has been closed and
minor violations of the ceasefire have taken place in 2010, 2011,
2013 and 2015. Tourism to Lebanon has never recovered since this war.
9 The inability to elect a President for more than two and half
years deprived Lebanon of the possibility to react to the challenges
in the region (see below). The election of Michel Aoun as President
of Lebanon on 31 October 2016 put an end to a situation which posed
a serious threat to the fragile balances on which the functioning
of Lebanese society is based. If such balances were to be disrupted,
regional stability would be further undermined and, for obvious
reasons, security would be challenged in the whole of Europe.
3 Political organisation
10 There is a long tradition of
democracy in Lebanon. The Taif Agreement was signed in 1989 to help
put an end to Lebanon’s civil war, which lasted from 1975 to 1990.
It also enshrined the organisation of Lebanon’s current political
system. The Agreement is based on the 1943 National Pact which was
an unwritten agreement between Lebanon’s first President, Bechara
El Khoury, who was a Christian Maronite, and Lebanon’s first Prime
Minister, Riad al Solh, who was a Sunni. The Christians feared they
would be overwhelmed by Lebanon’s Muslim communities and the surrounding
Arab countries, and Muslims feared Western hegemony. It was therefore
decided that the Christian population would not seek foreign (Western)
protection and the Muslim community would renounce its hopes for
a union with Syria and accept Lebanon as an independent State. The
National Pact also reconfirmed the sectarian organisation of government
as high level posts were to be split with a five to six ratio between
Muslims and Christians. This ratio favoured the Christian community and
was based on the 1932 census.
11 The Taif Agreement took into account presumed changes in the
demographic landscape even though a new census had not been conducted.
The Agreement made several changes to the Lebanese Constitution
but it mainly transferred executive power from the President to
the Council of Ministers, increased the number of seats in parliament
from 99 to 128 (which were to be divided equally among Muslims and
Christians) and it also reiterated that the President would be a
Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the Speaker of
Parliament a Shia Muslim (as before the Agreement). The Taif Agreement
also called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon and
the disarmament and disbandment of all militias. Militias were effectively disbanded,
with the exception of the paramilitary wing of Hezbollah, which
is considered by some as more powerful than the Lebanese army.
12 The Taif Agreement did not resolve any issues concerning national
identity and a split began to grow between Shia and Sunni Muslims,
adding to the already existing split between Christians and Muslims.
After the assassination of Sunni Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on
14 February 2005, relations between Sunnis and Shiites began to
deteriorate. It was in the aftermath of this assassination that
the “Cedar Revolution” took place, during which the March 14 Coalition
was formed, demanding the departure of Syrian troops which had been occupying
Lebanon since 1976 (an anti-Syria feeling had been growing amongst
many Lebanese during that year) and the March 8 Coalition was also
formed after approximately 500 000 Lebanese protesters took to the streets
to “thank Syria” for its role in Lebanon.
13 Relations between Sunni and Shiite Muslims continued to deteriorate
in Lebanon even after Syria’s withdrawal in April 2005. This resulted
in the departure of all the Shiite representatives from Lebanon’s
cabinet on 12 and 13 November 2006. On 7 May 2008, the cabinet adopted
two decrees which were considered to be hostile towards the Shiite
organisation Hezbollah and were rejected by the majority of Shia
Muslims in Lebanon. In response, Hezbollah seized a large part of
Beirut and began fighting rival Sunni groups. 81 people were left
dead in the clashes and Lebanon was on the brink of a new civil
war which forced the government to retract its decrees and adopt
the Doha Agreement which created a national unity government and
gave Hezbollah the possibility to veto any major decisions adopted
by the cabinet. These historical events have played a large role
in shaping Lebanon’s current political landscape.
4 The functioning of the Lebanese
14 The Lebanese political system
is split into three branches: the executive branch, the legislative
branch and the judicial branch.
15 The executive branch is composed of the President, the Prime
Minister and the Cabinet. The President is indirectly elected. The
parliament appoints the President for a six-year term based on a
two-thirds majority vote in the first round (absolute majority from
the second round onwards). The President then appoints a Prime Minister
and a Deputy Prime Minister, after consulting parliament. Lebanon
was without a President from 25 May 2014, when former President
Michel Suleiman’s term of office expired, until 31 October 2016
because the Lebanese Parliament was unable to reach a consensus
and elect a new President with the required two-thirds majority
(see below Lebanon’s Presidency crisis).
16 The legislative branch in Lebanon consists of a parliament
with 128 seats (64 Christians and 64 Muslims/Druze). Members of
Parliament are elected by a majority vote in multi-seat constituencies
and are elected for a four-year term. However, the last parliamentary
elections were held in June 2009. The elections scheduled for June
2013 were postponed a first time for a period of 17 months (until
November 2014) due to parliament’s incapacity to adopt a new electoral
law, which has been in discussion for the last 20 years, and Prime
Minister Tammam Salam’s inability to form a government.
17 In November 2014, the parliamentary elections were postponed
once again until 22 June 2017, which is the latest possible date
according to the Constitution. The reasons given to justify this
second postponement were “security concerns linked to the civil
war in neighbouring Syria” and the power vacuum caused by the absence
of a President. Security concerns are not however an acceptable
excuse for not having elections and recent municipal elections prove
that it is possible to have them in acceptable conditions. A new
president has now been elected.
18 The two highest courts in Lebanon are the Supreme Court and
the Constitutional Council. The Supreme Court is split into four
divisions, each division has a presiding judge and two associate
judges, members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the Supreme
Judicial Council. The Constitutional Council has 10 members, five
of which are appointed by the Council of Ministers and the other
five by parliament.
5 Major political parties
19 Most political parties in Lebanon
are grouped either in the March 14 Coalition or the March 8 Coalition.
The March 14 Coalition, which is Sunni based, anti-Syrian
and pro-Western, is made up of the following parties (the number
of MPs for all the political parties mentioned varies slightly according
to different sources):
Movement Bloc (a centre right party made up of Sunni Muslims) with
- Lebanese Forces (a conservative Maronite Christian party)
with 8 MPs
- Kataeb Party (a right-wing party which is officially secular
but mainly supported by Maronite Christians) with 5 MPs
- Social Democratic Hunchakian Party (a centre-left Armenian
party) with 2 MPs
- National Entente bloc with 2 MPs
- Ramgavar (an Armenian Democratic Liberal party) with 1
- Democratic Left Movement (a left-wing secular party) with
- National Liberal Party (a Liberal Christian Nationalist
Party) with 1 MP
- Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya / the Islamic Group (Sunni Muslim
Islamist) with 1 MP
- 8 independent MPs aligned with the March 14 coalition
The March 8 Coalition is Shia dominated and pro-Syrian. It
is composed of the following political parties:
- Free Patriotic Movement (centre-left
party of Maronite Christians) with 19 MPs
- Amal Movement (centre-right party whose members are Shia
Muslims and some Christians) with 13 MPs
- Hezbollah (Shia Islamist organisation supported by Iran)
with 13 MPs
- Marada Movement (an officially secular centre-right party
but which is predominantly Christian) with 3 MPs
- Lebanese Democratic Party (an officially secular centre-right
party whose members are mainly Druze) with 2 MPs
- Tashnag (an Armenian secular Party) with 2 MPs
- The Baath Party (a secular pro-Syrian party) with 2 MPs
- Syrian Social Nationalist Party (a secular nationalist
party based on the ideology of a “Greater Syria” which includes
Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Jordan and Cyprus) with 2 MPs
- The Solidarity Party (Christian) with 1 MP.
There are also many independent political parties in Lebanon
but only the following have MPs in parliament:
- The Progressive Socialist Party
(officially secular, mainly Druze) with 11 MPs
- The Tripoli Solidarity Bloc with 2 MPs
- Non-affiliated: 1 MP.
20 Lebanese politics have become
extremely polarised, especially with the outbreak of the Syrian
conflict. Former President Michel Suleiman launched the initiative
to have the Lebanese political parties sign the Declaration of Baabda
in June 2012, which calls for a “policy of dissociation” towards
the Syrian crisis and recalls that all political parties in Lebanon
are attached to the stability and unity of the country. The idea
behind this declaration was to preserve Lebanon’s stability in light
of the Syrian conflict. However, Hezbollah’s engagement in the Syrian
conflict has undermined this “policy of dissociation”. Hezbollah
has been supporting and fighting in Syria for Bashar Al-Assad’s
regime. This has polarised Lebanese politics even more. On the other
hand a Maronite MP told me that Hezbollah was protecting Christians
in the Baalbek region and if Hezbollah were to leave that region,
the Christians would leave with them.
6 Lebanon’s recent Presidency
21 The term of office of President
Michel Suleiman expired in May 2014 and the lack of agreement between the
two coalitions (March 8 and March 14) prevented the election of
the new President for two and half years. Over recent months, both
coalitions have put candidates forward but the Lebanese Parliament
was only able to reach a consensus on 31 October 2016.
22 On 2 June 2016, the Speaker of Parliament, Nabih Berri, announced
that the presidential election would be postponed for a fortieth
time. In fact, one of those unsuccessful sessions took place during
my visit to Lebanon. Mr Michel Aoun was elected at the 46th attempt.
23 Hezbollah and the March 8 coalition supported General Aoun,
who founded the Free Patriotic Movement and who had supported Hezbollah’s
war against Israel in 2006 and its seizure of parts of Beirut in
2008. Mr Aoun is a prominent leader of Lebanon’s Christian (Maronite)
community; Hezbollah therefore hoped he would help them gain more
24 The March 14 coalition initially put forward Samir Geagea
for the position; however he was openly opposed to both Syria and
Hezbollah, making it unlikely that the Lebanese Parliament would
reach a consensus on him. The March 14 coalition therefore put forward
a different candidate: Suleiman Frangieh. Frangieh was close to
both Hezbollah and Syria and his Marada Movement was a part of the
March 8 coalition. Former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who is
the leader of the March 14 coalition, backed Frangieh over Geagea
but many other members of the March 14 coalition saw this as surrender
to Hezbollah, even if Hezbollah had not shown any support for Frangieh
and had continued to back Michel Aoun. A parliamentarian I met said
that it was no longer clear who was in March 8 and who was in March
25 The predominantly Druze Progressive Socialist Party, which
does not belong to either of the coalitions, backed Henri Helou
to prevent either Aoun or Frangieh from winning. This attempt proved
26 It was believed by many analysts and some MPs that I met that
Hezbollah actually favoured the power vacuum. Due to its ties to
Iran, Hezbollah would oppose any nomination seen as pro-Saudi and
would continue to block consensus to increase its leverage in the
negotiation process. In the end this strategy proved successful
as their candidate was finally elected.
27 Each ministry in Lebanon is controlled by a certain group
and, without a President to supervise for such a long time, many
things had spiralled out of control. It should be noted however
that the army and the security forces did not seem to have been
affected by the political crisis and continued to work satisfactorily.
28 Europe should help Lebanon by encouraging the different factions
to work together and to separate politics from the provision of
services. Syria is indeed putting a lot of pressure on Lebanon,
but not to the benefit of any particular group. The different groups
should understand that power sharing is essential in order to solve problems.
The Lebanese model is far from perfect but it has held the country
together for a long time.
7 Lebanese civil society
29 More than 8 000 civil society
organisations are registered with the Ministry of the Interior.
To these should be added trade unions and syndicates which are registered
with the Ministry of Labour. Through these organisations, Lebanon’s
civil society has lobbied and protested for changes in the electoral
law and the personal status law. Despite raising awareness concerning
these laws, no new legislation has been adopted. During my visit,
I had the opportunity of meeting a representative of the main non-governmental
organisation (NGO), whose aim is to “reform the administrative and
electoral systems to ensure an accurate representation and effective
participation”, the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections
(LADE) created in 1996. LADE is also involved in election monitoring,
aims to educate citizens on important electoral issues and puts
pressure on political parties to adopt the necessary standards for
democratic elections. In 2006, LADE and two other organisations,
the Lebanese Transparency Association and the Centre for Lebanese
Studies, started the Civil Campaign for Electoral reform.
30 Civil society organisations in Lebanon have been successful
in lobbying for the adoption of legislation concerning domestic
violence and human trafficking. KAFA (“Enough”) is an important
NGO which played a prominent role in the adoption of legislation
in 2014 concerning domestic violence. KAFA also helped to train the
Internal Security Forces on the new legislation.
31 The Lebanese Organisation of Studies and Training (LOST),
of which I also met representatives, was created in 2008. LOST is
committed to creating a more developed and equitable society mainly
by working with women, young people and children and through the
fulfilment of human rights. There are also other NGOs in Lebanon
which promote human rights, such as the Lebanese Centre for Human
Rights (CLDH), created in 2006, which is particularly involved in
fighting against forced disappearances, arbitrary detention and
32 The Lebanese Transparency Association was created in 1999
and its main goal is to curb corruption. Instead of looking at specific
cases of corruption, the NGO looks at eliminating corruption by
advocating reforms and by promoting the principles of good governance.
33 NGOs also play an important role in helping the flow of Syrian
refugees, as well as providing assistance and lobbying in many other
domains (environment, illiteracy, poverty, corruption).
34 The implication of the Lebanese population in political life
could also be seen in the recent municipal elections, held on 8
May 2016. These were the first elections to be held in Lebanon since
2010 and were very different from previous municipal elections.
In light of the current political climate of clear mistrust of the
political establishment in Lebanon, municipal elections have not
only acquired a symbolic importance but also a practical importance
as municipalities currently have to deal with many difficult situations
(rubbish collection crisis, refugees). Previous municipal elections
in Lebanon have often been void of competition with the winners of
the elections normally being those who have ties to traditional
entities of power, whether these are political parties or powerful
families. Therefore, the candidates in municipal elections often
do not present a programme or an agenda for local development.
35 The 2016 municipal elections saw a change in this. Beirut
Madinati – a social movement – offered an alternative to the traditional
candidates and their parties, which are no longer trusted by the
population. Beirut Madinati’s candidates were not affiliated to
any ruling political party and it presented a 10-point programme which
prioritised “the primacy of the public good, social justice, transparency,
and stewardship of our city for future generations”. Beirut Madinati
lost the elections but still won approximately 40% of the vote in
Beirut, which is relatively high for a recently formed grassroots
campaign. The movement has successfully pushed Lebanese politics
in a more programme-based direction. Maya Saikali, a creative director
involved in the communication aspect of the campaign, said that
despite not winning the elections, Beirut Madinati has successfully
started a conversation and that the group’s aim is to continue this
conversation through “continuous work and involvement in our city”.
Ibrahaim Mneimneh, candidate for Beirut Madinati, whom I met, said
that for the first time the Lebanese population was willing to participate
in political life, believing that they could bring change.
8 External influences in Lebanese
36 Lebanese politics are highly
influenced by external powers and in particular by two States: Iran
and Saudi Arabia. The two countries back different political organisations
37 Hezbollah (or the “party of God’) was created during the Lebanese
civil war, after Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. Iran played an
important role in the emergence of the group as it received training
from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and is still heavily financed by
Iran today (according to Matthew Levitt, a senior fellow at the
Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Iran could be giving
Hezbollah up to $200 million per year). In Hezbollah’s founding
manifesto of 1985, it pledged its loyalty to Iran, urged the establishment
of an Islamic State and called for the destruction of the Israeli
State and the end of Western intervention in the Middle East. Hezbollah’s
ideology has made it an important proxy for Iranian foreign policy.
Hezbollah has also been largely backed by Syria, which explains
its support for Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. Through Hezbollah, Tehran
clearly has an influence on the Lebanese political landscape. Dr
Ali Fayad, the representative of Hezbollah whom I met, said that
Hezbollah were extremists in fighting Israel and the terrorists
in Syria (Daesh, Al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda) but were very moderate as
far as Lebanon’s internal politics were concerned.
38 Saudi Arabia played an important role in the peace talks which
put an end to the Lebanese civil war. It then went on to support
the March 14 Coalition to try and counter Iranian influence in Lebanon.
Saudi Arabia has mainly used money to gain influence in Lebanon
– or to counter Syrian and Iranian influence in the country. Saudi
Arabia acts as an important guarantor of a major part of Lebanon’s
debt and supports the Lebanese economy both directly and indirectly.
Indirectly through the tourism industry and Lebanese expatriates
working in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. Directly, Saudi
Arabia helps support Lebanon through aid packages. However, in January
2016 the Saudi Embassy in Tehran was attacked by a mob after Saudi
Arabia executed a dissident Shiite cleric. After the attack on the
Embassy, all members of the Arab League – except for Lebanon – condemned
the attack on the Embassy. Lebanon’s refusal to take part in the
condemnation has severely damaged the country’s relations with Saudi
Arabia which decided to cancel a $3 billion grant for the Lebanese armed
forces and a $1 billion grant to the Internal Security Forces in
Lebanon. Saudi Arabia also advised its citizens to avoid the country.
Lebanon is no longer the popular destination for Arab tourism that
it once was.
39 I was told that Lebanon had recently received €28 million
from the European Union for the education of Syrian refugee children
and at the same time it had received €55 million from an anonymous
donor from a Gulf State for the religious education of Syrian refugee
children. It should be noted that, under the EU-Lebanon Association
Agreement which entered into force in 2006, Lebanon already receives
€50 million per year from the European Union.
9 The refugee crisis
40 In October 2016, the committee
considered a preliminary draft report on “The situation in Lebanon
and challenges for regional stability and European security”, during
the discussion of which colleagues raised the issue of refugees.
As I pointed out on that occasion, this is a report to the Committee
on Political Affairs and Democracy and therefore I wished to concentrate
on the political situation. However, as the refugee problem has
an impact on the situation, I will briefly refer to it.
Since the conflict in Syria developed into a fully fledged
civil war in March 2012, the Assembly has been drawing attention
to the plight of refugees. Already in 2012 it adopted Resolution 1902 (2012)
on the European response to the humanitarian crisis
in Syria; in April 2013, it held a current affairs debate on “Syrian
refugees in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq: how to organise and
support international assistance?”; in June 2013, it adopted Resolution 1940 (2013)
on the situation in the Middle East; in October 2013, Recommendation 2026 (2013)
on the situation in Syria; in January 2014, Resolution 1971 (2014)
“Syrian refugees: how to organise and support international
assistance?”; and in April 2016, Resolution 2107 (2016)
on a stronger European response to the Syrian refugee
crisis. These texts list the measures the Assembly deem necessary
to cope with the refugee crisis.
42 Lebanon has registered more than one million refugees from
Syria, but the total number is estimated at 1.5 million, which represents
one quarter of the Lebanese population. This number adds to the
many refugees who were already there making Lebanon the country
with the highest number of refugees per capita in the whole world.
The international community should be thankful to Lebanon for its
hospitality and should show its solidarity in a more effective way.
43 Some 450 000 Palestinian refugees are registered with the
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Lebanon, mainly
living in the country’s 12 refugee camps; some have been there for
the last 60 years and some are in their fourth generation. Lebanese
legislation restricts the rights of refugees (for example the right
to work) and does not allow for their integration.
As referred to in Resolution
, in 2015, the Lebanese Government introduced new criteria
for refugees to renew their residence permits. According to Amnesty
“most refugees find it impossible
to pay the fee (U$200 per person) to renew their permits and provide
the numerous documents required. Without a valid permit, refugees
from Syria are considered to be in breach of Lebanese law. This exposes
them to a range of human rights violations”. In addition, in 2015
the United Nations had to reduce the support and amount of assistance
it provided to refugees in Lebanon as it only received 57% of the
45 In view of this delicate situation, the international community,
including the member States of the Council of Europe, should step
up, as a matter of urgency, their contribution to support and assist
the refugees presently in Lebanon. They should, on the one hand,
increase their financial support for the humanitarian response on
the spot and, on the other hand, increase resettlement possibilities
for those refugees who would so wish.
46 Lebanon is going through hard
times but is still resilient. The country is a good example of peaceful coexistence
of different religions and should be supported to allow this to
continue. The crisis in Syria has had an impact and some clashes
have spilled over into Lebanon. The economy in general and services
in particular are in stagnation. However, the complex status quo
works for all the groups as these feel that they might lose if the
situation were to change.
47 The main reason why it took more than two years to elect a
President was the fact that the Christian groups could not agree
on a candidate acceptable to the two main political coalitions.
In spite of the disagreements between groups and inside the groups,
there is a broad consensus on avoiding the worst: every political
party agrees that the risk of another civil war should be avoided
by all possible means. Problems in Lebanon will not be completely
solved if Syria is not fixed. Europe, which still has an influence
in Lebanon, should support Lebanese resilience mechanisms.
48 Many Lebanese politicians I met are convinced that decisions
concerning Lebanon are taken abroad (in Riyadh, Tehran, Moscow or
Washington). Some mentioned that Lebanon was affected by the proxy
war between Saudi Arabia and Iran and some fear that fighting might
spill over into Lebanon, mainly through the heavy involvement of
Hezbollah (which is a State within the State) in the war in Syria.
The lack of a President for more than two years was seen as problematic.
There is no doubt that the Iranian and Saudi human rights records
are deplorable. However, these two countries have a real influence
in Lebanon and it seems impossible to solve the country’s problems
49 At the time of my visit, all the political parties agreed
that Lebanon had to solve three major challenges: electing a president
(this has since been resolved); revising the electoral law; and
preparing national elections before 22 June 2017. Lebanon could
use external assistance at the political level to try to solve the
political deadlocks. Those I talked to were willing to let Europe
and the Council of Europe play a role.
Therefore, in addition to material support to cope with the
refugee problem and technical support, which are already mentioned
in previous Assembly adopted texts, I recommend the following:
- establishing a sustainable working
relation between the Parliamentary Assembly and the Lebanese Parliament,
first by inviting Lebanese parliamentarians to follow the work of
the Assembly and then by encouraging the Lebanese Parliament to
apply for partnership for democracy status with the Assembly;
- offering the expertise of the Venice Commission to the
Lebanese Parliament in order to revise the electoral law;
- offering political support to one of the few stable countries
in the region. Stability in the Middle East is security for Europe
and therefore it is our responsibility to support Lebanon.