Manama, Asharq Al-Awsat—Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) secretary-general, Abdullatif Al-Zayani, has said GCC countries will continue to take more measures against Hezbollah’s interests in the region.
In a speech at the ‘UN Public Service Forum 2013’ in Bahrain, he said current measures against Hezbollah targeted “individuals affiliated to the party, as well as its financial and commercial affairs,” adding that the recent deportation from Qatar of 18 Lebanese citizens affiliated to Hezbollah was part of the measures that are currently being implemented, without giving further details.
Responding to a question on the extent of GCC support for the Syrian opposition, especially regarding the arming of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Zayani said: “The arming of the FSA is within the jurisdiction of the Arab League, and the GCC is a member of the Arab League. Our position as GCC states is clear regarding the Syrian conflict. We want an end to the killing, the transfer of power, and preserving Syria’s security, unity and stability. We also want to end the bloodshed there.”
Zayani added: “The Syrian people have the right to defend themselves, and we continue to condemn and denounce any foreign interference in Syrian affairs. Therefore, we have taken measures against Hezbollah because of its interference in Syrian affairs.”
In the meantime, the UN secretary-general’s special adviser on Africa and his personal representative at the forum, Maged Abdelfattah Abdelaziz, told Asharq Al-Awsat that this forum had “a special significance because Bahrain has, for the second time, won the public service award, after winning it in Barcelona in 2010, which is evidence that Bahrain is moving steadily forward in the field of public service, and the development of advanced modern technologies to develop the relationship between the leadership, the government and the people, which benefits the country, and the region as a whole.” He added that it was also important that this was the first time for this forum to be held in the Middle East.
Zayani also welcomed the decision to hold the forum in Bahrain, in recognition of the kingdom’s efforts and its pioneering role in the public service field. He praised the level of organization which reflected the kingdom’s culture and its ability to host international events. He congratulated Bahrain, Oman and the UAE on winning the UN 2013 public service awards.
The GCC said on June 10 it would impose strict measures against Hezbollah members, in response to the group’s involvement in the conflict in Syria.
At the time, Lebanese caretaker foreign affairs minister Adnan Mansour criticized the GCC’s decision, describing it as “political.”