Arab League blacklisting of Hezbollah silly: Syrian FM
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has censured as “silly” a recent move by the Arab League to designate Lebanon’s resistance movement, Hezbollah, as a terrorist organization.
“The latest Arab League decision was silly, and to be honest, I am not surprised by that [decision] from the same body, which authorized NATO to hit Libya… I thank God that we are not a member of this Arab League,” Muallem said during a press conference in the capital, Damascus, on Saturday.
The top Syrian diplomat added that he had asked the Arab League back in 2006 to praise Hezbollah for its resistance against Israel during the 33-day war in the summer of that year, but the request was turned down.
“Later, we understood that there were [countries within the Arab League], who were calling on Israel to hit the resistance,” Muallem pointed out.
On Friday, foreign ministers at an Arab League meeting in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo branded Hezbollah a terrorist group in their final statement. However, Lebanon and Iraq refused to go along with the move and Algeria expressed “reservations.”
In a similar move, the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) issued a statement on March 2, labeling Hezbollah a terrorist organization. The Arab bloc comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Hezbollah later denounced the designation and described the GCC member states as “reckless and hostile.”
The measure came days after Riyadh retracted a USD four-billion aid pledge to Lebanon’s security forces. The decision was made in the wake of recent victories by the Syrian army, backed by Hezbollah fighters, against the Takfiri militants fighting to overthrow the Damascus government.
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has said the Saudi regime seeks to provoke “strife” between Shias and Sunnis in the Middle East, urging the Lebanese not to be intimidated by threats being posed by Riyadh and Tel Aviv.