Arab League voices solidarity with Lebanon against terrorism
Foreign ministers reconvene during an Arab League meeting in Egypt, September 7, 2014 (File/AFP)
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The Arab League has voiced solidarity with Lebanon in its battle against terrorism, underlining the need to bolster the Lebanese army’s capabilities to confront takfiri organizations, like ISIS and Syria’s Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, according to a statement released Monday by the Foreign Ministry.
The League’s stance came in a statement issued Sunday after a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, including Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil. Among other things, the ministers agreed to take “necessary measures” to confront terrorist groups, including ISIS.
The League’s Ministerial Council approved a provision on “Solidarity with Lebanon and Supporting it.”
“The council praised the national role played by the Lebanese army and Lebanese security forces in safeguarding stability and civil peace. It supported the efforts exerted to extend Lebanese state sovereignty up to the internationally recognized border and the Lebanese government’s commitment to [U.N.] Resolution 1701,” the Foreign Ministry statement said.
The council also underscored the need for “boosting the Lebanese army’s capabilities to fight terrorism and confront fundamentalist and takfiri organizations, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), Nusra Front and others.”
Referring to five days of deadly fighting between the Lebanese army and ISIS and Nusra Front militants in and around the northeastern town of Arsal last month, the council condemned the “deplorable attacks on Arsal and its surroundings.”
It denounced “armed actions and movements and terrorist bombings that struck several areas in Lebanon recently, from Tripoli to the Bekaa and Beirut and its [southern] suburbs.” It also condemned last year’s twin suicide bombings at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut that killed 30 and wounded over 150. The attack was claimed by an Al-Qaeda-linked group, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades.
The council applauded last month’s $1 billion Saudi grant to buy arms to shore up the capabilities of the Lebanese army “because it is the cornerstone to guarantee security, stability and civil peace in Lebanon.”
In supporting Lebanon’s right to resistance against Israeli attacks, the council “affirmed full Arab solidarity with Lebanon and ensured political and economic support for its government to preserve national unity and Lebanon’s security, stability and sovereignty over all its territory.”
The council stressed the right of the Lebanese to liberate or retrieve the Shebaa Farms, the Kfar Shuba Hills and the Lebanese part of the village of Al-Ghajar and “their right to resist any [Israeli] attack by all legitimate and available means.”
According to the Foreign Ministry, the council affirmed “the importance and necessity of differentiating between terrorism and the legitimate resistance against the Israeli occupation.” It condemned Israel’s air, sea and ground attacks on Lebanese sovereignty, including the planting of agents and installation of spy networks in Lebanon.
The council’s statement stressed the need to “maintain Lebanon’s unique pluralistic formula based on inter-faith coexistence and dialogue.”
The Arab League also welcomed Lebanon’s initiative for contacting the prosecutor general of the International Criminal Court to condemn war crimes committed by Israel during its war on the Gaza Strip and crimes against humanity perpetrated by terrorist groups in Iraq.
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