Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora agreed at a U.N.-sponsored meeting in Paris on Tuesday that unrestricted movements of weapons and terrorists in Palestinian refugee camps are harmful to Lebanon.
The meeting was the first between Abbas and Saniora.
Terje Roed-Larsen, the U.N. special envoy on Syria-Lebanon, met separately with Saniora and Abbas to discuss Palestinian militias in Lebanon and other issues related to the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, which called for the dismantling of armed groups in Lebanon, in addition to a full Syrian withdrawal from the country.
Abbas, responding to reporters’ questions after the meeting at a Paris hotel, said Palestinian refugees were “guests” in Lebanon and were not above the country’s laws.
Abbas condemned the transfer of arms to Palestinian factions in Lebanon through Syria, and Saniora added that, “We expressed our views that the presence of armed personnel and armaments outside the camps is not necessary and not helpful.”
Next for Abass: Madrid, Washington
“As for the presence of armed personnel within the camps, this is going to be looked at in order to organize it,” he said.
During the meeting Saniora said he is hopeful that peace would return to Lebanon.
“We hope that those who have been committing these terrorist attacks are going to stop,” he said, “and we are making every effort in terms of organizing our security forces and intelligence.”
“I am positive and determined that we will be up to the challenge,” Saniora added.
Abbas is expected to continue to Madrid and then on to Washington. The Palestinian leader was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon prior to his U.S. trip, but the summit was pushed back due to disagreements between the sides.