President Obama offered a statement on Lebanon's elections this morning, praising their peaceful handling and voicing U.S. support for a sovereign, stable, and peaceful Lebanon. He did not, however, comment on the results.
Obama instead praised the democratic process in general, and he refrained from offering any congratulations to the U.S.-backed March 14 coalition on its victory over Hezbollah--perhaps looking to signal that democratic principles are more important to him than political parties, and perhaps, also, indicating a consciousness of accusations that the U.S. meddles in Middle East politics. (A visit to Lebanon by Vice President Joe Biden in May was specifically criticized as an attempt to intervene in yesterday's elections.)
Obama issued the following official statement this morning. The bolded segment (bold added) was reproduced directly from his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last week:
I congratulate the people of Lebanon for holding a peaceful election yesterday. The high turnout and the candidates - too many of whom know personally the violence that has marred Lebanon - are the strongest indications yet of the Lebanese desire for security and prosperity. Once more, the people of Lebanon have demonstrated to the world their courage and the strength of their commitment to democracy.
The United States will continue to support a sovereign and independent Lebanon, committed to peace, including the full implementation of all United Nations Security Council Resolutions. It is our sincere hope that the next government will continue along the path towards building a sovereign, independent and stable Lebanon.
Government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Commitment to these principles of peace and moderation are the best means to secure a sovereign and prosperous Lebanon.
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