Charbel Says Saudi Arabia, UAE Keen to Maintain 'Historic' Ties with Lebanonإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Interior Minister Marwan Charbel pointed out on Friday that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are keen to preserve the “historic” and “exceptional” ties with Lebanon and to welcome the expats on their territories.
“I have discussed the conditions of the Lebanese community in Saudi Arabia and UAE during talks with the two country's interior ministers,” Charbel said after a meeting with Lebanese businessmen in Riyadh.
The minister held separate talks with Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Naif and his UAE counterpart Sheikh Saif bin Zayed al-Nahayan.
Ties between Lebanon and the Gulf countries deteriorated over the country's alleged failure to abide by the government's policy of disassociation from regional developments amid reports that several parties are involved in the Syrian turmoil.
Earlier this month, the GCC expressed “great concern” over the government's failure to abide by the dissociation policy as declared in Baabda last year in a letter handed over to President Michel Suleiman.
The Baabda Declaration was sponsored by President Michel Suleiman and calls for different parties to adhere to the disassociation policy to avoid the spread of the unrest in Syria to Lebanese territories.
“The Lebanese community in those two countries are highly respected and welcomed,” Charbel quoted his counterparts as saying.
He pointed out that the Lebanese will “never forget the positive role played by Saudi Arabi, UAE and the Arab brothers to support Lebanon's stability, unity and support to surpass difficulties.”
Charbel will return on Saturday to Lebanon after a five-day official visit to Riyadh to attend the meeting of Arab Interior Ministers.
Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour called in his speech at the Arab Ministerial Council in Cairo last week for scrapping a decision to suspend the membership of Syria from the Arab League.
The minister's statement drew ire of several officials locally including Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Miqati.
However, Mansour down played criticism on his speech after returning to Beirut, saying that he “carefully” chose his words as he is keen to preserve Lebanon's best interest.
Lebanese parties are sharply divided over the crisis in Syria as the March 8 alliance continuously expresses its support to Syrian president Bashar Assad, while the March 14 camp backs the popular revolt.
The international community and analysts have expressed fears that the conflict in Syria may spill over into Lebanon.