Abou Faour Says to Send Response to Syrian Envoy's Accusations

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Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour said Friday he would refer to the Lebanese Foreign Minister a response to the Syrian envoy over his recent accusations that the ministry was involved in helping “extremist Salafist organizations.”

Abou Faour told al-Joumhouria daily that he drafted a letter to respond to the memo that Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdul Karim Ali handed recently to Mansour.

In the letter Ali said his mission had received complaints from Syrian refugees claiming “extremist Salafist organizations” were demanding that they declare their opposition to the Assad regime in return for aid through the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

The ambassador accused the Social Affairs Ministry of being responsible for the pressure exerted on the displaced.

However, About Faour said that he reprimanded Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour in a “friendly way” during a cabinet session on Thursday for referring the accusations of the Syrian diplomat as if he was adopting them.

During the same session, President Michel Suleiman said diplomats should abide by the protocol and the foreign ministry should reject being used as a forum for accusations launched against political leaderships that harm the country's sovereignty.

The media also quoted Suleiman as saying that it was the duty of the ministry to respond to accusations made by any ambassador.

The president lamented that Lebanon's ambassador to Damascus Michel Khoury hasn't met with the Syrian Foreign Minister since his accreditation three years ago despite Ali's huge activities in Lebanon.

The Syrian envoy has held meetings with Lebanese officials and has been honored by certain parties on several occasions, Suleiman reportedly said.

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