RIYADH (AFP) – Saudi Arabia warned Lebanon’s Hezbollah-led opposition on Thursday against an escalation of its confrontation with the government, warning that conflict would only benefit “extremist external forces,” in an apparent reference to Iran.
“The kingdom urges the groups behind the escalation to reconsider their position, and to realise that leading Lebanon towards turmoil will not bring victory to any party except extremist external forces,” the state news agency SPA quoted an official as saying.
These forces “are still hindering every sincere and honest effort to end the political crisis in Lebanon,” the official said.
The Saudi comments came on the second day of anti-government protests in Beirut which blocked roads and forced Lebanon’s only international airport to close in a major escalation of a long-running political crisis.
Lebanon’s opposition is backed by Iran and Syria while Saudi Arabia, the regional Sunni Arab powerhouse, supports the Western-backed ruling majority.
The news agency said Saudi Arabia will continue its efforts to restore security and peace in Lebanon.
“It will spare no effort in helping and will stand by its side to defend… the independence of its political decision and unity,” it added.
“The kingdom calls upon everyone in Lebanon, regardless of their political affliations… to give the interests of Lebanon priority over other considerations,” it said.