Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who last week appointed a more pro-Syrian cabinet, made a statement of support for Damascus on 29 April. ‘The relationship of Lebanon and Syria is the result of a decisive and fateful choice on the basis of our heritage, history, brotherhood and joint interests,’ he told parliament. ‘The government is determined to deepen and develop the relations in political economic and cultural spheres.’ Hariri also said that the continued threat to Lebanon from Israel made co-ordination with Syria essential and that the continued presence of some 20,000 Syrian troops on Lebanese soil was necessary for security.