Nazem al-Khoury Defends Suleiman's Stance on Role of Diplomats in Lebanonإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Minister of Environment Nazem al-Khoury defended President Michel Suleiman against critics, saying it was his duty to give instructions to the foreign minister for diplomats to abide by the protocol.
“It is the duty of the president to give initial instructions to the foreign minister to draw to the attention of ambassadors the need to abide by the norms,” al-Khoury told An Nahar newspaper published on Sunday.
“The ambassadors should respect the norms whether in their meetings made through the foreign ministry or their statements in terms of non-interference in Lebanon's internal affairs,” he said.
Suleiman told the cabinet on Thursday that it was the duty of the foreign ministry to respond to accusations made by any diplomat.
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 Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdul Karim 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 told the cabinet after a spat between Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour and Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour over a Syrian complaint letter.
In a letter handed by Ali to Mansour, the diplomat 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.
In his remarks on Sunday, al-Khoury said that when Suleiman gave his point of view on the dispute between Mansour and Abou Faour, he generalized the need for ambassadors to abide by the protocol and didn't target the Syrian ambassador alone.
“For example, any ambassador who visits Baabda Palace should ask for an the appointment from the foreign ministry,” he said.