BEIRUT: Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour defended in remarks published Thursday his recent stance at the Arab League over proposals relating to Syria and said the regional organization was breaching its own charter and working on a plan to arm Syrian rebels.
“What’s so strange about calling for reinstating Syria at the Arab League?” Mansour asked, in remarks to An-Nahar newspaper.
“I called for unblocking Syria’s membership to spare Lebanon the negative repercussions,” he added.
“What force can separate the few among 1 million Syrian refugees currently [living in host countries]? [What would happen] if supporters of each side decided to engage in an armed confrontation?” he asked, addressing his critics.
Mansour came under fire at home Wednesday after he requested the League rescind its 2011 decision to suspend Syria as a member of the Arab body, in light of Beirut’s self-avowed policy of dissociating from developments in the region, particularly Syria.
The bulk of the criticism came from the Lebanese opposition, which accused Mansour of working on behalf of Damascus.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Wednesday that Lebanon maintained its dissociation policy.
“Lebanon’s government is still committed to the policy of disassociation from events in Syria. This is the same stance it took when the decision to suspend Syria’s membership was issued by the Arab League,” Mikati said in a statement, referring to the Cabinet’s position soon after the Syria uprising began.
Mansour Wednesday had also objected to the proposal to invite the Syrian National Coalition to take the League seat formerly occupied by Damascus.
As well as inviting the Syrian opposition group to take Damascus’ seat at the League, the Arab body also decided Wednesday to let member states arm Syrian rebels.
Of the 21 member states, Lebanon, Iraq and Algeria were the only three to refuse to endorse the section dealing with Syria in the League’s final statement.
In his remarks to An-Nahar, Mansour warned that the regional group was breaching its own charter as well as working on a plan to arm the rebels.
“Do critics realize the significance of what is being prepared in the corridors of the Arab League? A team of ministers – contrary to the Arab League Charter – is preparing a draft resolution to arm the [Syrian] opposition,” Mansour said.
“Do they realize the implications of such a move if approved?” he asked.