KUWAIT RENEWS CONDEMNATION OF SAUDI, BAHRAIN ATTACKS – League chief says Lebanon should be spared
CAIRO, Nov 20, (Agencies): First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah renewed on Sunday Kuwait’s condemnation of the ballistic missile fired from Yemen towards the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and the bombing of an oil pipeline in Bahrain.
This came in Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled’s speech during an emergency meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers, upon a request by Saudi Arabia.
The State of Kuwait, the UAE and Bahrain have supported the Saudi request. The Kuwaiti minister affirmed that his country stands fully in solidarity with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in all measures taken to maintain their security and stability.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled is leading Kuwait’s delegation to the meeting that includes Assistant Foreign Minister for the Affairs of the First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister’s office Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah, Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab League Affairs Ambassador Azeez Al-Daihani, Kuwait’s Permanent Representative to the Arab League Ahmad Al-Bakr and other ministry officials.
Arab foreign ministers have, meanwhile, decided to take the Iranian interferences in Arab internal affairs to the Unit ed Nations Security Council. In a statement following their extraordinary meeting at the Arab League Headquarters in Cairo Sunday, the Arab foreign ministers assigned the Arab delegates to the UN to demand the UNSC to tackle the Iranian violation of the UNSC resolution No. 2231 on the development of ballistic missiles.
They stressed the Iranian ballistic missile development is an offensive and not a defensive program and it poses a real menace to the Arab national security. They asked the Arab delegates to submit a request to the UNSC president to clarify Iran’s breaching of the UNSC resolution No. 2216 through supplying terrorist militias in Yemen with weaponry, notably ballistic missiles.
They condemned the Yemeni terrorist militias’ firing of Iranian-made ballistic missile at the Saudi capital Riyadh, considering it a hostile action from Iran against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a threat to the Arab and international security and stability.
The foreign ministers urged the UNSC to shoulder its responsibility towards such a threat to the international security and stability. They voiced unequivocal backing to the Saudi Arabia’s right to defend its security and to any other Saudi measure to counter the Iranian violations in accordance with the international laws.
They denounced the Iran’s training and provision of weapons to the terrorists in Bahrain as well as its continued occupation of three Emirati islands. They slammed the Lebanese Hezbollah’s spreading of extremist ideologies, instigating of sectarian conflicts and support to terrorist groups in several Arab countries. They decided to stop the transmission of all Iran-financed and sectarian TV channels through Arab satellites.
Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Monday Lebanon should be “spared” from spiralling regional tensions, during a visit to Beirut a day after Arab diplomats blasted Lebanese movement Hezbollah. “Arab countries understand and take into account the situation in Lebanon and want to spare it … from any dispute,” Abul Gheit said after landing in Beirut, in comments carried by Lebanon’s National News Agency.
His visit comes a day after the Arab League held an extraordinary general meeting in Cairo, at the request of Saudi Arabia. Riyadh called the ministerial-level meeting to discuss “violations” by its rival Tehran, which backs armed groups across the region, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement. Arab foreign ministers blasted Hezbollah in the summit’s resolution, saying they would hold it “responsible for supporting terrorism and terrorist organisations in Arab countries with modern weapons and ballistic missiles”.
The concluding statement demanded that Hezbollah stop intervening in regional conflicts and spreading extremism and sectarianism. Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil did not attend the meeting, leaving permanent representative to the Arab League Antoine Azzam to represent the country.
Abul Gheit said Sunday that Lebanon’s delegation had expressed reservations on the statement, “specifically on the points related to Hezbollah’s role”. The Arab League head was expected to meet Monday with Lebanese president Michel Aoun and parliament speaker Nabih Berri, and take part in a conference organised by the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). Lebanon has been gripped in a political crisis since Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his surprise resignation earlier this month from Saudi Arabia, lambasting Iran and Hezbollah for destabilising his country.
The shock announcement sparked worries that Lebanon would be caught up in the spiralling tensions between Riyadh and Tehran, which back opposing political and armed groups across the region. After resigning, Hariri spent two more weeks in Saudi Arabia amid rumours he was under de facto house arrest there, before travelling to Paris on Saturday. There, he met French President Emmanuel Macron and pledged he would be in Lebanon in time to mark its independence day on Wednesday. “I will participate in the celebrations for our independence and it is there that I will make known my position on all the issues after meeting with the president of our republic, general Michel Aoun,” he said. On Sunday, the Lebanese politician said he would visit Cairo on Tuesday to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. A source close to Hariri said that meeting aimed to “continue the series of Arab and international consultations”.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is set to give a speech Monday at 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) on the crisis in Lebanon and tensions between Riyadh and Tehran. Iran on Monday rejected a harsh statement by Arab League foreign ministers condemning the Islamic Republic and its proxy Hezbollah, saying the tirade was “full of lies” and the product of Saudi “pressure and propaganda.” State media quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as calling on Saudi Arabia to stop its “barbaric attacks” on Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been at war with Tehran-backed rebels since March 2015. He also called on Saudi Arabia to drop its boycott of the Gulf Arab nation of Qatar, which has warm ties with Iran. Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Sunday lashed out at Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, accusing them of destabilizing the region and vowing to take the matter to the U.N. Security Council. Lebanese President Michel Aoun, a Christian ally of Hezbollah, also rejected the Arab League statement, which had accused the militant group of terrorism and of supporting “terrorist groups” across the region.
Aoun said Lebanon had been subjected to Israeli “aggression” for decades and had the right to defend itself. Hezbollah, the only Lebanese group to retain its arms after the 1975-1990 civil war, forced Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000 and continues to portray itself as Lebanon’s first line of defense. Hezbollah is also a member of Lebanon’s coalition government. Aoun said Lebanon rejects any accusation that its government “is a partner in terrorist attacks.” Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul- Gheit, who visited Lebanon and met with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Monday, said Lebanon “cannot be an arena for any Arab-Iranian confrontation.”