Report: Berri Disapproves of Harsh Rhetoric Directed against Saudi Arabiaإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Speaker Nabih Berri had expressed his concern over the escalation of the Sunni-Shiite strife in the region, while emphasizing the need to safeguard the interests of Lebanese expatriates, reported the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat on Saturday.
Berri had informed the visiting Lebanese Business and Investment Council in Saudi Arabia that “he disapproves of the harsh rhetoric, by Lebanese sides, against the kingdom.”
“The rhetoric causes problems for the Lebanese expatriates in Saudi Arabia,” he explained.
It also harms Lebanon's economy and its ties with Riyadh, he noted before a delegation from the council, according to sources from the meeting that was held earlier this week.
The sources added that Berri had stated that the situation in Lebanon “requires it to distance itself from regional crises.”
“It needs an Iranian-Saudi agreement otherwise it would be difficult to tackle the crisis in Lebanon,” the speaker was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, the delegation had also held talks on Thursday with head of Hizbullah's Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Mohammed Raad to discuss the “suffering of the Lebanese diaspora in Saudi Arabia in the wake of the party's harsh campaign against it.”
The delegation explained that “Hizbullah's high tone against Saudi Arabia does not serve the party, Lebanon, or the Lebanese expatriates in the Arab Gulf region and the kingdom.”
For his part, Raad expressed his understanding of the situation of the Lebanese diaspora in Saudi Arabia, voicing his readiness to “do what it takes to maintain their presence in the kingdom.”
He hailed ties between the Lebanese and Saudi Arabian people, despite the disagreement between Hizbullah's leadership and the Saudi policy.
The lawmaker pledged to the delegation that the rhetoric against Riyadh will be lowered, said the sources.
The delegation returned to Saudi Arabia on Friday after holding a series of meetings with Lebanese officials throughout the week.
Hizbullah has been recently directing a barrage of criticism at Saudi Arabia over its airstrike campaign targeting Yemen's Shiite Huthi rebels.
Hizbullah officials have warned Riyadh that it would be defeated and would pay a heavy price for its attacks.
There are around 500,000 Lebanese expats in the Gulf.
Earlier this year, the UAE, which hosts 100,000 Lebanese workers, expelled around 70 expatriates, mostly Shiites.
In 2009, dozens of Lebanese Shiites who had lived in the UAE for years were expelled on suspicion of links with Hizbullah.
In 2013, Qatar deported 18 Lebanese nationals after the Gulf Cooperation Council decided to impose sanctions against Hizbullah for its military intervention in war-torn Syria to support President Bashar Assad.