Bou Saab Meets Hariri, Says Abul Gheit, Pedersen Back His Munich Stance
Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab announced Wednesday that his stance on Syria at the Munich security conference was backed by Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit and U.N. special envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen.
Bou Saab made the announcement after meeting Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the Grand Serail in the presence of ex-minister Ghattas Khoury.
“I discussed with PM Hariri the affairs of the Defense Ministry and the Military Council appointments, in addition to the outcome of my visits to Washington and Munich,” the minister said after the talks.
Asked about the stances that he voiced during the two visits, Bou Saab said: “All the stances that I voiced were in line with the government's Policy Statement and the Arab League's charter, which was highlighted by the support I received from the Arab League's secretary-general and the U.N. special envoy for Syria, who underscored the same stance during the same session.”
“Accordingly, what I said was not a point of contention and talk about opposition from some parties is not accurate, because we have not heard a single official stance but rather media reports quoting sources,” the minister added.
“All these stances are aimed at defending Arab land, not interfering in a dispute between one party and another, and a similar incident had happened in Iraq, when Turkey made an incursion into northern Iraq and the Arab League issued a stance in support of Iraq's territorial integrity,” Bou Saab explained.
He added: “Accordingly, we are abiding by the Arab League's resolutions and I'm surprised that anyone might be bothered because I'm working under the League's ceiling. I will continue to take stances that defend any Arab land and I ask those annoyed by the fact that I'm defending Arab land: what are your affiliations?”
Bou Saab had announced Friday at Munich's conference that “any Turkish presence on Syrian territory without the Syrian state's approval is unwelcome, illegitimate and is considered an occupation.”
Al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc had on Tuesday called on “some political leaders and forces” to respect the requirements of governmental solidarity, warning that any breach of it would “disrupt the positive atmosphere that prevailed after the formation of the government and the commitments that were mentioned in the Policy Statement and the premier's remarks.”