Aoun: Lebanon Must Not Pay Price for Regional Conflicts
President Michel Aoun stressed on Monday during talks with Arab League chief Ahmed Abu el-Gheit at the Presidential Palace that Lebanon must not “pay the price for regional conflicts,” after its closing statement a day earlier that named Hizbullah party a “terror” organization.
“Lebanon is not responsible for the Arab and regional conflicts that some Arab states are witnessing. Lebanon did not carry out any aggression against anyone and it should not pay the price of these conflicts,” Aoun told Abu el-Gheit who arrived in Lebanon Monday.
The President added: “Lebanon can not tolerate a suggestion that the Lebanese government is a partner in terrorist acts. Lebanon's stance declared through its representative at the Arab League yesterday expressed a national will.”
Turning to Lebanon's conflict with Israel and how the country has countered the Israeli aggressions since 1978, Aoun said: “Lebanon was able to face the Israeli aggressions since 1978 until the 2006 war. It was able to liberate its land. Israeli threats are still ongoing, the Lebanese have the right to fight and thwart it with all available means.”
The closing statement of an emergency Arab League meeting on Sunday labeled Hizbullah as “terrorist”, which prompted Lebanon’s representative to voice reservations over certain clauses.
The statement accused Hizbullah of “training terrorist groups” in Bahrain, “supporting terrorist groups” in Saudi Arabia, and “supporting terror and terrorist groups in Arab countries with advanced weapons and ballistic missiles.”
And describing Hizbullah as a “partner in the Lebanese government,” the statement also accused the group of “spreading extremism and sectarianism” and “interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.”
The Lebanese envoy to the meeting, Antoine Azzam, made carefully weighed comments at the talks.
While not mentioning Iran by name, he said Lebanon condemned all attacks against Arab nations, but blamed exploitable inter-Arab divisions that allowed international and regional powers to promote their interests.