Lebanon will reject any potential Arab League sanctions against Syria, Foreign Minister Adnan Mansur said, as the organization prepared to meet on Thursday to discuss measures against Damascus.
“Lebanon will not endorse any sanctions by the Arab League against Syria,” Mansur, who is a member of the Amal Movement which is backed by the Iranian and Syrian backed Shiite militant group Hezbollah, said before heading to Cairo for the meeting.
“We will decide whether to vote against or abstain depending on the talks in Cairo,” he said in response to a question. He did not elaborate on “we”
Lebanon voted against suspending Damascus from the 22-member Arab League earlier this month, siding with Yemen and Syria.
Lebanon Prime Minister Nagib Mikati told the ambassadors of the Arabian Gulf states last week that he was not aware that Lebanon voted against the Arab League resolution to suspend Syria’s membership , al Hayat newspaper reported.
Al Hayat also reported that Mikati told the ambassadors that Lebanese Foreign Affairs minister Adnan Mansor has taken the decision to vote against the measure without consulting with him.
The US has urged Lebanese authorities to protect their financial sector against potential Syrian efforts to sidestep sanctions, sparking fears Beirut could be affected by possible future measures against the Assad regime.
The Lebanese leaders are divided over Syria crisis. The country’s pro-Western opposition, led by former premier Saad Hariri, has thrown its weight behind anti-Assad protesters in Syria, while the Hezbollah led alliance which dominates the Lebanese government, has said it will continue to stand by Assad against an “international conspiracy” aimed at ousting him from power.