BEIRUT: U.S. Senator John McCain clarified Friday that he did not mean Lebanon when he spoke of establishing a safe zone for the Free Syrian Army.
During a meeting with head of the Future Movement Parliamentary bloc MP Fouad Siniora, the latter asked McCain about his earlier comments calling for an FSA safe zone; McCain made clear that he did not mean Lebanon.
McCain called Thursday for establishing a safe zone for Free Syrian Army rebels after meeting with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea at the latter’s residence in Maarab.
“I’ve always stressed the need to arm the Free Syrian Army, who need weapons, since Russia is supplying [Syrian President Bashar] Assad with weapons. We need to secure a safe zone for the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian opposition to organize their operations, train and treat the wounded,” he added.
For his part, Siniora stressed the importance of U.S. support for the forces of moderation and democracy in the world and the necessity to commit to the principles the U.S. has long called for.
McCain also met with President Michel Sleiman at Baabda Palace, where the two discussed U.S.-Lebanese relations and aid the U.S. provides to the Lebanese Army in a bid to strengthen its role in protecting borders and civil peace.
The two also spoke about the importance of shielding Lebanon from the repercussions of political tumult in neighboring countries. In this regard, McCain praised Lebanon’s policy of disassociation from the events in Syria.
During his two-day visit to Lebanon, which began Thursday, McCain also met with head of the Lebanese Army Gen. Jean Kahwagi and Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt.
McCain last visited Lebanon in February 2011.