The United States has renewed its support of Lebanon's sovereignty and independence, calling for the withdrawal of remaining foreign armies on Lebanese territory.
The reaffirmation was made by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in a written letter to the director of the American- Lebanese Institute, Daniel Nassif, who has mounted widespread protests against Syria's domination of Lebanon.
"I repeat the reiteration of the U.S. supportive stance to Lebanon's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity," Powell wrote. "This is a firm, central policy of the U.S. administration that sees the need to accomplish this through the withdrawal of all foreign armies from Lebanon." Lebanese activists in the United States attached particular importance to Powell's assertion because it came on the evening of Vincent Battle's takeover of his post as the new U.S. ambassador to Beirut. The letter was also seen as a reminder to the current governments in Beirut and Damascus that the United States would not relent on its support to Lebanon's free democratic system of government against alleged attempts at 'militarization.'