Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon, Dr. Abdulaziz Khoja has asserted that the shots fired at the Saudi Embassy in Beirut during the past days “was a deliberate action” and ruled out the possibility of “stray bullets.”
He told Asharq Al-Awsat, “What our embassy in Beirut was subjected to was deliberate; otherwise how do we explain being shot at more than twice.”
Despite the concern for the situation in the Lebanese territories and the expectation of renewed confrontations between the opposition and loyalist supporters at any minute, the Saudi Embassy has not closed its doors. AMB. Khoja asserted, “It continues to operate.”
The ambassador, who was recalled by his government for consultations, did not rule out the possibility that those targeting the embassy were “resentful” of Riyadh’s role which is aimed at calming the tense situation in Lebanon.
Asked if the shots at the embassy were a “message of resentment” by parties which do not want the situation to calm down, he said: “This could be the case. But the question is why is there resentment of an action aimed at calming the situation?” He added that he would return to Lebanon soon, calling his recall by the Saudi government “something normal” and said: “It is normal to have consultations between the ambassador and his government. I will return to Lebanon.”
The ambassador reiterated his government’s confidence in the wisdom of General Michel Suleiman, the Lebanese Army commander and the consensual candidate for president of the Lebanese Republic. He said, “We trust Gen. Suleiman and we hope the army will exercise its role of protecting Lebanon.”
The Saudi ambassador reported that his country was waiting for the results of the [Arab] ministerial committee’s talks with the political leaders about the Lebanese crisis and said in a contact from his residence in Riyadh, which he reached from Cyprus, that “Saudi Arabia has not been negligent from the start in its efforts to calm the situations in Lebanon.”
AMB. Khoja left Lebanon by sea aboard a boat that brought him and some members of the diplomatic mission to Larnaca, Cyprus. He said their journey from Beirut took six hours and a half. King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, ordered a private plane which flew to Larnaca Airport to bring the ambassador and several staff members who arrived with him.