BEIRUT: Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour said there is no reason to expel Syria’s envoy to Lebanon, responding to demands to do so in remarks published Thursday.
“There is nothing that warrants the expulsion of the ambassador or the withdrawal of Lebanon's ambassador to Syria because of the lack of convincing reasons and motives to do so,” Mansour told Al-Joumhouria.
The March 14 coalition demanded that the Lebanese government expel the Syrian envoy to Lebanon Ali Abdel-Karim Ali, describing the embassy as a center for the administration of bombings and abductions in the country.
The opposition has also accused Syria of instigating the latest clashes in north Lebanon in a bid to divert attention away from the 18-month uprising against the rule of President Bashar Assad.
The demand for the expulsion also comes after the government’s deputy commissioner at the Military Tribunal earlier this month accused former Information Minister Michel Samaha and Syrian National Security Bureau head Ali Mamlouk of plotting to assassinate political and religious figures in Lebanon and carry out terrorist attacks.
The accusation also includes a Syrian Army officer.
The Kataeb (Phalange) Party’s youth department held a demonstration outside the Foreign Ministry Wednesday displaying posters asking the Syrian ambassador to “respect us or leave.”
Speaking to the local daily, Mansour said the demand to expel Ali “violates diplomatic norms and principles.”