Arab FMs defend Lebanon's right to resist Israeli aggression
The council of Arab foreign ministers decided Sunday during a meeting in Cairo to support the Lebanese government materially and financially to help it cope with the Syrian refugee crisis.
The council also agreed to ask the member states to share the burden, stressing that the refugees' presence in Lebanon is “temporary” and that efforts would be exerted to return them to their country as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, al-Jadeed TV revealed that the council accepted to add to its statement a suggestion by Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil that mentions "the right of Lebanon and the Lebanese to liberate and recover the Shebaa Farms, the Kfarshouba Hills and the Lebanese part of the Ghajar village, and to resist any Israeli aggression or occupation through the legitimate means."
The council lauded “the national role that is being performed by the Lebanese Army in preserving stability and civil peace,” welcoming “the extraordinary assistance offered by Saudi Arabia” to the army.
Bassil had reportedly changed Lebanon's clause of the final statement of the Arab ministers' meeting amid lack of consensus among the rival Lebanese parties on the policy statement of Prime Minister Tammam Salam's cabinet.
Al-Akhbar newspaper quoted a source in Cairo as saying that the version sent by Bassil was totally different from that of his predecessor ex-FM Adnan Mansour, who according to An Nahar has held onto the “army-people-resistance” equation.
The controversy on the word “resistance” is already delaying the approval of the policy statement. A seven-member committee tasked with drafting the blueprint is scheduled to hold its tenth meeting on Tuesday amid hopes that it would reach a compromise.
President Michel Suleiman and the March 14 camp are upholding the Baabda Declaration. But the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance is insisting on including in the blueprint Lebanon’s right to armed resistance against Israeli occupation.
The meeting of the Arab foreign ministers in Cairo was aimed at preparing for the Kuwait summit of March 25-26 and drafting its closing statement.