Lebanon News

GCC ‘worried’ Lebanon not abiding by dissociation policy

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal (front, 2nd R) welcomes Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Jaber Al-Mubarak Al Sabah (front, 2nd L) upon his arrival at Riyadh airport November 23, 2011. REUTERS/Saudi Press Ageency-Handout

BEIRUT: The Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) voiced in a letter to President Michel Sleiman Tuesday its “extreme concerns” that Lebanon was failing to abide by its self-avowed disassociation policy toward regional events.

According to Sleiman’s office, GCC Secretary-General Abdel Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani delivered the letter to the Lebanese president on behalf of the Gulf group’s ministerial council.

The letter said that the “Gulf Corporation Council voiced its extreme concern [over Lebanon] not committing to the Baabda Declaration and the policy of disassociation.”

“The council,” the letter stated, “looks to [Lebanon] to abide by the policy in words and actions in order to prevent placing Lebanon's security and stability at risk or affect the interests of its people and their security.”

Sleiman, who welcomed the GCC delegation at Baabda Palace, reaffirmed his keenness that every measure be taken to ensure Lebanese parties abided by the government’s policy.

In 2012, rival Lebanese leaders agreed during a National Dialogue session to adopt the so-called "Baabda Declaration," which is aimed at keeping Lebanon neutral with regard to turmoil in the region, particularly the unrest in neighboring Syria.

In the wake of the uprising in Syria, the Lebanese government adopted a dissociation policy toward developments in the region.

There have been increasing reports of involvement by Hezbollah in the crisis in Lebanon’s neighbor. There are also reports of Lebanese opposition groups providing funding to rebels. Both deny allegations of playing a military role in Lebanon’s neighbor.

Last month, the GCC complained to Lebanese officials about remarks on Bahrain by MP Michel Aoun, a member in the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition.

Aoun, in an interview with an Iranian television station last month, criticized the international community and the Arab League for its lack of support of Bahraini protesters, calling their predicament an “injustice.”

The GCC regarded Aoun’s comments as interference in the domestic affairs of Manama.

Commenting on the Gulf reaction, Aoun said his comments were not intended as interference but rather as advice.

Sleiman, according to the president’s office, said he was committed to maintaining the best of ties with the Gulf countries.





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