Lebanon representative at the UN Nawaf Slam said in a statement that he attended the The UN General Assembly meeting and voted for the resolution which was adopted on Friday deploring “the plot to assassinate” the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States “.
Lebanese government is dominated by Hezbollah militant group which is backed by Iran and Syria, but Saudi Arabia is a major contributor to the Lebanese economy and has assumed important roles in reconciling the Lebanese rival leaders.
Slam said he issued the statement to deny the reports “claiming that I did not attend the meeting and that Lebanon voted against the resolution”.
The resolution, proposed by Saudi Arabia and supported by the United States, was passed with 106 votes in favor, nine against and 40 abstentions.
Representatives of several of Iran’s neighboring countries did not show up for the vote. But the obvious majority sided with the measure, which also calls for “all states to take additional steps to prevent, on their territories, the planning, financing, sponsorship or organization or commission of similar terrorist acts and to deny safe haven to those who plan finance support or commit such terrorist acts.”
Mohammad Khazaee, Iran’s permanent UN representative, warned before the vote that the world body’s legitimacy could be undermined.
“If the members of the General Assembly allow this draft to pass unamended, the General Assembly would run the risk of setting a dangerous precedent and turning into a venue for settling political scores,” said Khazaee.
In October, the U.S. government accused Manssor Arbabsayara, a U.S. citizen also holding an Iranian passport, and Gholam Shakuri, a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, of sponsoring and promoting terrorism abroad, including a plot to kill the Saudi envoy to the United States. Iran has said it is a false and unfounded accusation.
“Our fundamental difficulty with the draft resolution lies in the very fact that this draft is based on nothing but an unsubstantiated claim of one member state with a long history of animosity against my country and that my government has already and strongly rejected,” Khazaee said, adding that many, including members of the elite in the United States and former U.S. officials, strongly doubt the charges.
Abdallah Yahya Al-Mouallimi, Saudi Arabia’s representative, denied that the text accused any particular state and that all persons were innocent until proven guilty. The ambassador also said the resolution could not wait for a decision to be reached on the case, pointing out that one of the accused was still at large and could not be brought to justice without the cooperation of Iran.
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador, said before the vote that the terrorist plot struck at one of the most sacred principles governing relations between states — the safety and security of diplomats.
Li Baodong, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, said he abstained because “China hopes countries concerned will continue to appropriately address the issue through dialogue and make joint efforts to maintain peace and stability in the Middle East and the Gulf region.”
“At present, the case is highly complicated and sensitive,” Li said. “Parties still have different views over the issue. Any conclusion or action must be based on comprehensive, impartial, objective and transparent investigations and substantial evidence.”
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