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Obama, Suleiman agree to keep Lebanon out of Syrian conflict - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Members of Lebanon's Hezbollah carry the coffin of a comrade during his funeral in Baalbek, in the Lebanese Bekaa valley on May 21, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/STR)

Members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah carry the coffin of a comrade during his funeral in Baalbek, in the Lebanese Bekaa valley on May 21, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/STR)

Washington/Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—US President Barack Obama telephoned Lebanese President Michel Suleiman yesterday to discuss developments in Syria, especially Hezbollah’s role in the ongoing crisis in Syria.

A White House statement said: “President Obama stressed his concern about Hezbollah’s growing and active role in fighting on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, which contradicted Lebanese government policies.”

The statement added that Obama and Suleiman agreed on the “necessity for all sides to respect Lebanese policy in staying neutral on the Syrian conflict and to avoid actions which could draw Lebanese people into conflict.”

At the same time, former Lebanese prime minister Sa’ad Al-Hariri criticized Hezbollah’s intervention in the conflict.

In a statement, Hariri said: “Where is the national, constitutional and moral responsibility for the crimes committed by a major Lebanese political faction by getting involved in the internal Syrian war, and pushing Lebanon into the bloody war against the Syrian people, and sending hundreds of Lebanese youth to fight alongside the regime’s forces and participating in the invasion of Syrian towns and villages in operations unrivaled in its viciousness, except by the Israeli invasions of Southern Lebanon villages and the Syrian invasion of Lebanon in the 1970s?”

He added that Hezbollah “had chosen to copy Israeli crimes against Lebanon and its people, and apply them to the people of Qusayr and the villages around Homs, and became a spearhead in a crime committed by the regime against its people.”

Pointing to his earlier warning of the “dangers of Hezbollah’s insistence on implicating Lebanon in the Syrian conflict,” he asked: “Where is the president in all this? Where is the caretaker government and its head, where is the speaker of parliament, the parliament as a whole and its parliamentary committees? Where are the army leadership and the security services in all this? Is there a decision not known to the Lebanese people to handover the state, its security, military and constitutional institutions, to Hezbollah?”

“Hezbollah’s war in Qusayr, and inside Syria in general, is a decision to annul the Lebanese state or at best, a declaration by Hezbollah that Lebanon is nothing more than a land without authority, for armed bullies,” Hariri added.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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