Lebanon Joins Saudi-led Anti-Terror Coalition: Salam Hails Move, Foreign Ministry 'Unaware' of Step

Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday the formation of a coalition of Arab and Muslim countries aimed at fighting terrorism.

Lebanon is among the 34 countries in the alliance.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam welcomed the formation of the Islamic coalition, saying: “Lebanon is at the forefront of the confrontation with terrorism.”

“Any executive step required by Lebanon from the coalition will be studied and dealt with according to Lebanese constitutional and legal norms,” he added.

But the Foreign Ministry decried that it “had no knowledge whatsoever of the issue of forming an Islamic anti-terror coalition.”

It said it has not received “any memo or phone call mentioning this coalition.”

The ministry “was neither consulted at the foreign level, as required by norms, nor domestically, as required by the Constitution,” it added.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasizes that this move undermines Lebanon's distinguished stance on the definition of terrorism and the classification of terrorist organizations,” it said.

“It also encroaches on the ministry's constitutional jurisdiction on foreign affairs,” the ministry added, noting that Lebanon's foreign policy “is part of the government's policy and the Ministerial Policy Statement – in coordination and consultation with the prime minister.”

There should be “internal consensus on this foreign policy,” the ministry stressed.

It also reiterated that it will always support “any real effort, action or coalition aimed at combating takfiri terrorism and all its organizations, as well as all its military and ideological forms.”

Earlier, Mustaqbal Movement leader MP Saad Hariri praised the coalition, saying: “This is a historic move on the right path, which is aimed at dealing with a political, security, and ideological problem that has started to pose a risk on Islam's civilized and human existence.”

“It was only natural for this announcement to be made from Riyadh, by its Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who delineated the strategic line of this alliance,” he remarked in a statement.

“Saudi is announcing on behalf of the overwhelming majority of the Arabs and Muslims that the responsibility of combating terrorism, which is exploiting Islam to harm the religion, lies on them, their leaderships, and countries,” stressed the MP.

“This responsibility falls first on Arabs, who are falling victim to the ugliest discrimination campaigns that serve no purpose but to harm their role and stature in the world,” added Hariri.

On this note, he saluted the Saudi leadership “for launching the alliance and embracing it.”

Commenting on the coalition, Labor Minister Sejaan Qazzi said: “Lebanon is not part of this alliance and it was not informed about joining it.”

“Lebanon is not an Islamic or Christian state and joining the coalition needs cabinet's approval,” he added according to MTV.

“We hope an international alliance against terrorism would be formed instead of a sectarian one,” he told the television station.

Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday the formation of a military coalition of 34 countries including Gulf states, Egypt and Turkey to fight "terrorism" in the Islamic world.

The Saudi-led alliance does not include Iran, or Syria and Iraq.

It will be based in Riyadh "to coordinate and support military operations to fight terrorism", with participation from Middle Eastern, African and Asian states, the SPA state news agency said.

The coalition will tackle "the Islamic world's problem with terrorism and will be a partner in the worldwide fight against this scourge" said Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Lebanon joins the alliance that includes Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Turkey, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Djibouti, Senegal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Gabon, Guinea, Palestine, the Comoros Islands, Qatar, the Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Libya, the Maldives, Mali, Malaysia, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Yemen.


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