RIYADH (AFP) -Saudi newspapers on Saturday criticised Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara for his claim that the kingdom’s regional role has become paralysed, which put further pressure on already strained relations.
“The least that can be said of al-Shara’s statement is that it lacks diplomacy and aims to sow sedition between two brotherly peoples,” said Al-Bilad newspaper.
The daily denounced what it termed the “desperate attempts to downplay the role of the kingdom in the Arab and Muslim world and the false claim that its role is paralysed.”
Saudi Arabia had on Thursday launched a fierce attack on Shara, accusing him of making false statements which “contain numerous lies aimed at damaging the kingdom.”
It accused the former foreign minister of seeking to “stoke disorder in the region”.
Shara said on Tuesday that it was “regrettable” that Saudi Arabia had not attended a meeting in Damascus last week on the security situation in Iraq, which was attended by US and French delegations.
“To the benefit of whom (is it) that some Arab officials circulate lies about the kingdom?” asked Al-Yawm daily in its editorial.
Al-Watan daily meanwhile slammed Syria’s “betting on foreign parties who would not be of help in troubled time,” in a clear reference to Iran, claiming that the Syrian regime should instead work on mending relations with the kingdom.
“Shara and his government do not realise where they are taking their people. Otherwise, they would have been more keen on rebuilding, rather than destroying, bridges of relations with Saudi Arabia,” it said.
Relations between Riyadh and Damascus have been fraught since disagreements over last summer’s war between Israel and Lebanon’s Syrian-backed Shiite militia Hezbollah.
They were further strained after the Hezbollah-led Lebanese opposition launched a campaign to oust the government of Western-backed Sunni Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, who is close to Saudi Arabia.