BEIRUT: Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and several politicians have condemned threats made by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah against Saudi Arabia.
Nasrallah crossed the red line that Lebanon has drawn to preserve its relations with the Kingdom, and targeted hundreds of thousands of Lebanese working in the Gulf with his attack on the Kingdom.
He accused “everyone who befriends Americans in Lebanon and the region of being a co-conspirator.”
Aoun said on Tuesday that “the Lebanese people are keen on preserving Lebanon’s Arab and international relations, especially the ones with the Gulf states, with Saudi Arabia at the forefront.”
Mikati was quick to react to Nasrallah’s attack on the Kingdom, saying: “His statements do not represent the position of the Lebanese government and the vast majority of the Lebanese people. It is not in Lebanon’s interest to offend any Arab country, especially the Gulf states.”
He added: “While we call for Hezbollah to be part of the diverse Lebanese nation and to demonstrate its affiliation to Lebanon, its leadership contradicts this direction with positions that harm the Lebanese and Lebanon’s relations with its fraternal countries.”
Mikati asked everyone to “have mercy on this country, shield it from useless polemics and stop the hateful political and sectarian rhetoric.”
During a meeting with the Lebanese Armed Forces Cmdr. Gen. Joseph Aoun on Tuesday, Mikati said: “The army will be the first defender of Lebanon and the first institution that represents the real fusion between all the Lebanese, since the army is the country’s protector.”
Also in response to Nasrallah’s comments, former president Michel Sleiman said: “Did he take this position on behalf of Iran? The majority of the Lebanese people reject this stance and believe it would cause great damage to Lebanon and ruin the relationship with Saudi Arabia, which selflessly loves Lebanon.”
Former premier Fouad Siniora said: “Nasrallah’s statements represent a crime against Lebanon and its national interests that are being endangered.”
He said that Nasrallah’s speech against the Kingdom was “unjust, predatory and further suffocates Lebanon.”
Siniora added: “It is an Iranian speech that reflects Iran’s impatience toward the ongoing conflict and the clash with the US in the nuclear talks in Vienna.”
Former premier Saad Hariri addressed Nasrallah in a tweet: “Your insistence on attacking Saudi Arabia and its leaders is a continuing attack on Lebanon, its role and its people’s interests. Saudi Arabia has never threatened the Lebanese state with the Lebanese who have been working and residing in the Kingdom for decades.
“Saudi Arabia, as well as all the Arab Gulf States, have welcomed the Lebanese and provided them with job opportunities and a decent life. It’s those who threaten the Lebanese with their livelihood, stability, and progress that want the Lebanese state to be held hostage to Iran and its proxies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.”
He added: “Everyone knows that history will not be kind toward a party that sells its Arabism, its homeland and the interests of its people in exchange for a handful of partnerships in the region’s wars.”
In a statement issued by Dar Al-Fatwa, Lebanon’s highest Sunni authority, Grand Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian described Nasrallah’s speech as “impertinence and offenses directed toward the Kingdom.”
Dar Al-Fatwa reiterated its “support to Mikati’s stance in this regard.”
Future Bloc MP Mohammed Al-Hajjar said: “Hezbollah not only pawns Lebanon, but insists on slaughtering the country.”
Lebanese Democratic Party MP Bilal Abdallah expressed his concern over “using Lebanon on the negotiation table of the powerful forces.”