Naharnet

Saniora Rejects Nasrallah's Claims against Saudi Arabia: We're Accustomed to such Baseless Accusations

Head of the Mustaqbal bloc MP Fouad Saniora rejected on Tuesday Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's claims that Saudi Arabia was behind the recent bombings near the Iranian embassy in Beirut.

He said: “We have grown accustomed to officials in Lebanon making baseless accusations.”

“Everyone in Lebanon says whatever they want,” he remarked after holding talks at the head of a Mustaqbal delegation with Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Beirut Elias Audeh.

“President Michel Suleiman made the best remarks over this issue” when he urged against ruining ties with the kingdom, continued Saniora.

“Throughout the years, Saudi Arabia had long sought to support Lebanon,” he stressed.

Nasrallah accused last week Saudi Arabia of being behind the November 19 Iranian embassy twin bombings.

An al-Qaida-affiliated group, the Abduallah Azzam Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was aimed at pressuring Iran ally Hizbullah to withdraw its fighters from Syria.

Nasrallah said that Saudi intelligence backs the Brigades.

For his part, Suleiman indirectly rejected the Hizbullah chief's claim, saying: “Lebanon should not ruin its ties with Saudi Arabia through making baseless accusations against it.”

Commenting on the recent developments in Syria, Saniora rejected the April kidnapping of two bishops and last week's abduction of nuns in the town of Maalula.

“We reject any action that harms the sanctity of holy sites,” he added.

He demanded that all efforts be exerted to pressure the criminals to release the captives.

“The kidnappings do not serve the Syrian cause, they will not end the authoritarian rule, or the violence in the country,” he stated.

Jihadists had abducted 13 nuns and three civilians last week from Maalula.

Some of the nuns appeared in a video messages aired by al-Jazeera television on Friday, claiming that they were doing well.

Bishops Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi were kidnapped by armed men in Aleppo at the end of April.

Later on Tuesday, the Mustaqbal bloc reiterated Saniora's statements, while demanding the formation of a new government “as soon as possible.”

“We urge Suleiman and Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam to form a new government immediately because the delay is causing great harm to Lebanon,” it said after its weekly meeting.

“Forming a government devoid of party officials is the first step towards improving the situation in the country,” it stressed.

It also condemned the assassination of Hizbullah official Hassan al-Laqqis last week, urging the need to launch an honest investigation in the crime that will verify whether Israel was behind it.

Furthermore, it praised Hizbullah's al-Manar television for apologizing to Bahrain over its coverage of the political developments in the Gulf state.

It hope that the “party would offer a similar apology to the Lebanese people for all the harm it has caused them over the years.”

Al-Manar television director general Abdullah Qassir confirmed that the Hizbullah-owned TV network has apologized to Bahrain over its coverage of the Shiite-led protests in the Gulf kingdom, LBCI and al-Jadeed televisions reported on Sunday.

Shiite-majority Bahrain has blacklisted Hizbullah and banned Bahraini opposition groups from having contact with the Lebanese party over allegations it was interfering in the kingdom's internal affairs.

The opposition, which is battling for democratization, insists that its political agenda is Bahraini and not linked to Iran or other Shiite sides.

Hizbullah and its media outlets had voiced strong support for the protest movement in Bahrain and criticized the heavy-handed crackdown on the Arab Spring-inspired demonstrations.


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