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Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
June 8, 2009


WASHINGTON—Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings released the following statements today following the June 7 parliamentary elections in Lebanon.

“I congratulate the people of Lebanon for their continued commitment to democracy. In Lebanon, politics too often merges with violence. I was pleased to see Lebanese parliamentary elections were mostly peaceful, allowing the Lebanese people to cast their ballots without fear or intimidation,” Chairman Cardin said. “At the ballot box yesterday, the people of Lebanon were confronted with two starkly different visions for their country. I am encouraged to see the majority of voters have rejected the vision of Hezbollah, a designated foreign terrorist organization and Iranian proxy. Lebanon has a vital role in the Middle East, and the Lebanese people deserve a government that respects human rights, promotes tolerance, and seeks peace with its neighbors. I look forward to strengthening America’s relationship with the people of Lebanon and their newly elected government.”

Co-Chairman Hastings said: “The peaceful elections in Lebanon demonstrate a commitment to the democratic process and international standards. Having traveled extensively in the Middle East, including to Lebanon, in the past several years, I look forward to continuing dialogue with Lebanon and their future engagement with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on issues of fair elections, human rights and security across the Middle East. As Special Representative for Mediterranean Affairs for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, I know other countries in the region share an interest in Lebanon rejoining the OSCE as a Mediterranean Partner. Sunday’s elections in Lebanon further demonstrate the country would be a positive addition to the Helsinki Process, helping to uphold international standards and shape the future of this vital regional partnership.”
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