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Lebanese Ministers against Bassil’s Stance

Lebanese Ministers against Bassil’s Stance

Beirut- Last month, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the president of the Free Patriotic Movement, abstained from voting on the final statement of an Arab foreign ministers’ meeting which classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

The meeting came amid rising tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia after the execution of the Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia on Jan. 2, triggering a war of words between the two countries and leading to the assault on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.

Bassil’s stance sparked the outrage of the March 14 coalition, which on the other side was praised by Hezbollah and the rest of its March 8 allies.

However, Lebanon has succeeded and to a large extent in overcoming the crisis caused by the stances of the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that refused to support the Arab and Muslim stances regarding the attack on Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the city of Mashhad last month.

Foreign Minister, Gebran Bassil, was keen on clarifying the situation in more than one occasion and emphasizing on condemning attacks on diplomatic missions, in addition to the visit that took place by his colleague in the FPM and National Education and Higher Education Minister, Elias Bou Saab, to the Saudi Embassy to clarify the situation.

Bou Saab told the delegation that the position of Lebanon during the meeting of Arab foreign ministers was consistent with the Ministerial Declaration of the Lebanese government.

Minister of Interior and Municipalities Nohad Machnouk considered that the “position of Foreign Minister was not wise, especially since it took into account local developments before the fate of the entire region.”

“We are in favor of the agreement and against Arab interference, whether it was Iranian or not Saudi Arabia has supported Lebanon during difficult times and never differentiated between the Lebanese,” he said.