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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Syrian minister's last interview
Interview with Syrian Interior Minister Major General Ghazi Kanaan given to Voice of Lebanon correspondent Warda Zamel on 12 October, hours before he was found dead in his office, having apparently committed suicide.

Presenter: Syrian Interior Minister Maj-Gen Ghazi Kanaan, in this cloudy climate that prevails over the two fraternal countries, what is the message you want to address through Voice of Lebanon?

Kanaan: Sister Warda, the issue actually has to do with a statement in reply to what was reported in the 2330 newscast on New TV.

Ghazi Kanaan
Kanaan said the interview would probably be his last statement
Unfortunately, many tendentious media organs have become accustomed to spreading lies to deceive the public opinion, including what was reported in the New TV evening newscast on 11 October on the meeting they assumed was held with the members of the [international inquiry] commission on the Syrian assistance to seek the truth concerning the assassination of martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, for Syria has a major interest in this.

With respect to the testimony of the Syrian interior minister before the commission, it dealt with shedding light on an era when we have served Lebanon.

I spoke at this meeting about what I was asked to speak about and with objectivity.

To sum up the situation, I would like to clarify that what was reported in the New TV cast is baseless and tendentious.

We and the commission have a copy of the minutes on the basis of which we can refute and expose these lies when we believe it is necessary to do so in reply to this accusation that seeks to harm us and Prime Minister Hariri.

We exerted joint efforts and this resulted in the unity and liberation of Lebanon at a time that it was impossible to do so without Syria.
Ghazi Kanaan
Neither we nor Hariri carried out dealings as mentioned.

Has this TV station revived previous grudges that it is now rehashing or is there someone who fed it this poison and thus it became the victim?

I used to watch this television station at times but it recently lost its credibility.

I would like to clarify that our relationship with all the brothers in Lebanon has been governed by amity and mutual respect in the interest of all in Lebanon to extricate Lebanon from the tribulation it has been witnessing at the time.

We served Lebanon's interests honourably and sincerely. Public opinion, regardless of a handful that have their own circumstances or some stations that have their own designs, is the final judge.

We gave and took from all the honest people in Lebanon and they are the majority, be they politicians, media people, or citizens from all colours.

We exerted joint efforts and carried out joint work and we spared no blood and this resulted in the unity of Lebanon and its liberation at a time that it was impossible to do so without Syria.

The rumours that are being spread about relations based on what they claim can be found only in the minds of those who spread these rumours to achieve political designs or those who are motivated by rancorous bases.

We hope that objectivity will prevail; people will act according to what their conscience dictates and fear God in what they say.

Thank you, Miss Warda. I wanted to give you this statement just because I know that you are known for your objectivity, your role in Lebanon, and your role also in shedding light on the relationship, for I know about the positive role you played that served the Christians, Lebanon, and the objectivity of the media.

This is why I wanted to exclusively give you this statement. I hope that you will give it to Sheikh Pierre Dahir, Future Television, the NBN, and all the media organs for I believe this is the last statement I might make.

Presenter: I thank you for your trust, Mr Minister Ghazi Kanaan. Thank you.

Kanaan: Thank you, may you live a long life.

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