Lebanon FM: As Safir report is ‘exaggerated’


Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Ali al-Shami said Thursday that a report accusing the U.S. of eavesdropping is “exaggerated.”

The daily As-Safir had reported that the U.S. embassy in Lebanon has asked Lebanese police to provide it with data on Lebanon’s two mobile phone companies – Alfa and MTC Touch.

“The story was just a news report,” Shami said after talks with Arab League chief Amr Moussa on the sidelines of a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.

“The official U.S. position, however, as we were told and understood, is that the issue is not so serious and the report has been exaggerated by the media,” Shami told reporters.

“Lebanon’s security is exposed by a global decision and by a security system that lacks national regulations and by a political system which makes Lebanese citizens serve as members to external powers,” As-Safir wrote.

According to an observer that is very familiar with this case the US embassy asked for information about the two mobile phone companies , Alfa and MTC Touch last April because they were both supposed to be for sale . It is the responsibility of the embassy in such a situation to obtain as much information as possible on these companies in order to provide it to prospective US companies that may be interested in bidding for them.

The observer told Ya Libnan: Since Hezbollah has its own telecom network the issue of the phone companies is considered very sensitive . General Michel Aoun’s son in Law Gebran Basil who was the telecom minister at the time rejected the request and the whole issue died until Bassil’s successor FPM’s Sharbel Nahhas leaked the information to the As Safir to try to embarrass the US .



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