The U.S. has sent a stern warning to Lebanon that “it will be hurt” if it doesn’t commit itself to a new U.N. Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Syria over its violent crackdown on protestors, Beirut dailies said.
Al-Liwaa newspaper on Tuesday quoted U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman as saying that if the Council imposes sanctions against Syria, “then Lebanon should commit to them and if it doesn’t it will be hurt.”
Feltman held talks with Premier Najib Miqati in New York on Monday after a similar meeting between the Lebanese prime minister and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Lebanon’s office at the U.N headquarters.
As Safir daily said that the seven-minute meeting between the two men came as part of the U.S. pressure on Lebanon over the Palestinian U.N. bid. Lebanon is the head of the rotating presidency of the Security Council for the month of September and has backed the Palestinian effort to win full U.N. membership.
A U.S. source told An Nahar daily that Clinton stressed to Miqati that Lebanon should be committed to its international obligations and mainly the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon that is set to try ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s suspected assassins.
“Lebanon should be cautious in dealing with the situation in Syria and not to allow Syria to impose on it a rejection of sanctions against Damascus,” the top U.S. diplomat told Miqati, according to the source.
Clinton hoped that Beirut would steer clear of the situation in Syria “because it would be the best choice for Lebanon at this stage,” As Safir quoted her as saying.
Diplomatic sources also told al-Liwaa that the Secretary of State made an indirect warning to the Lebanese government saying its bias would “do you big harm.”
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