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Future slams Bassil for ignoring Syrian violations

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil (C) attends the opening session of the Arab League Foreign Ministers' meeting in Kuwait City on March 23, 2014 ahead of the annual Arab League summit. (AFP PHOTO/YASSER AL-ZAYYAT)

BEIRUT: The parliamentary Future bloc Thursday criticized Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil for failing to file a complaint during this week’s Arab summit against Syria’s violations of Lebanese territory.

Bassil, who attended a two-day Arab summit in Kuwait that ended Wednesday, did not address repeated Syrian violations of Lebanese territory at the Arab League meeting. Instead, he pleaded with Arab leaders to support the poorly equipped Lebanese Army to fight terrorism and highlighted the threat posed by the presence of an estimated 1 million Syrian refugees who have fled for safety to Lebanon.

“The [Future] bloc was greatly surprised because the Foreign Ministry ignored repeated and brazen attacks and violations carried out by Syrian regime forces against Lebanese sovereignty in [several] border areas,” the bloc said in a statement issued after its weekly meeting chaired by former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

It added that President Michel Sleiman had urgently asked Bassil to prepare a complete file about the Syrian attacks and violations against Lebanese territory.

“The convening of the Arab summit in Kuwait and its appreciated support for Lebanon was an occasion to bring up these condemned [Syrian] attacks before Arab leaders and include them in the final communiqué so that [these attacks] will not escalate and Lebanon can reserve its right to complain to the [U.N.] Security Council,” the statement said.

The bloc also reiterated its demand for the deployment of the Lebanese Army along the eastern and northern border with Syria with the support of U.N. peacekeepers “to protect Lebanon and shield it from the dangerous repercussions” of the 3-year-old conflict in Syria.

Earlier this month, Sleiman described a series of attacks by the Syrian warring factions on Lebanese border towns as an attempt to drag Lebanon into the Syrian conflict.

Syrian warplanes have frequently attacked the town of Arsal and its outskirts, allegedly in pursuit of Syrian rebels. The Bekaa Valley towns of Brital and Hermel have also been targeted with rockets from Syrian territory by Al-Qaeda-linked groups in retaliation for Hezbollah’s military intervention in Syria.

Sleiman last year sent a memorandum to the U.N. listing violations of Lebanese territories by the warring factions in Syria.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 28, 2014, on page 3.

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Summary

The parliamentary Future bloc Thursday criticized Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil for failing to file a complaint during this week's Arab summit against Syria's violations of Lebanese territory.

Bassil, who attended a two-day Arab summit in Kuwait that ended Wednesday, did not address repeated Syrian violations of Lebanese territory at the Arab League meeting.

Earlier this month, Sleiman described a series of attacks by the Syrian warring factions on Lebanese border towns as an attempt to drag Lebanon into the Syrian conflict.


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