Bassil Says Lebanese Delegation Was 'Unaware' of Summit Statement

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil said after the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh Sunday that Lebanon adheres to President Michel Aoun's oath of office and to the ministerial statement distancing the country from foreign turmoil.

“We were not aware of the Riyadh announcement and believed that no statement would be issued at the end of the summit. It was a surprise to know about its issuance and content when we were flying back to Lebanon,” said Bassil in a tweet.

Bassil's comments came after the Riyadh summit issued a statement that compared Hizbullah party to extremist organizations.

“We adhere to the oath of office, to the ministerial statement, and to the policy of distancing Lebanon from foreign difficulties in order to save the Lebanese people and the country's unity,” added Bassil.

During the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, U.S. President Donald Trump compared Hizbullah in a landmark speech on Sunday to extremist organizations such as Islamic State and al-Qaida.

However he lauded the Lebanese army for fighting IS and Lebanon for hosting a huge number of Syrian refugees.

The U.S. leader praised Saudi Arabia for joining Washington this week in “placing sanctions on one of the most senior leaders of Hizbullah,” Sayyed Hashem Safieddine, who is the head of the party's powerful executive council.

In 2016, Bassil expressed Lebanon's rejection of an Arab League statement condemning Hizbullah over alleged interference in Bahrain.

Source: Naharnet

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