Lebanon declines invitation to "Friends of Syria" conference, changes relationship status to 'it's complicated'


Ministers of Foreign Affairs Adnan Mansour said on Thursday that Lebanon will not participate in the Friends of Syria conference scheduled to take place in Turkey next month.

During an interview with Al-Manar television station, Mansour said that he received “an invitation from Turkish Foreign Minister [Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday] and we are about to respond. However, I can [confirm] that [Lebanon] will not join the conference.”

He added that Russia’s stance on the Syrian situation is similar to that of Lebanon.

“[Moscow] did not recognize the [Syrian] National Council and [the Lebanese government deals] with the Syrian government.”

“If we are indeed against [acts of] interference in [Syria’s] affairs, then we need to stop [supporting] the Syrian opposition with money and weapons.”

Mansour added that Lebanon’s stance on the Syrian events during the upcoming Arab League summit in Baghdad on March 29 will be similar to previous standpoints.

“We will keep on disassociating [Lebanon]” from the Syrian crisis, Mansour told Al-Manar.

Asked about whether he is contacting his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem, Mansour said: “From time to time, and [Muallem] understands [Lebanon’s] positions. The only demand of the Syrian officials is that the [Lebanese-Syrian] border be controlled.”

“It is unacceptable for some [Lebanese] factions [severely criticize] what is happening [in Syria]. [The positions] need to be constructive,” Mansour added.

Lebanon’s political scene is split between supporters of the Syrian regime, led by Hezbollah, and the pro-Western March 14 camp.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights the Syrian unrest has left over 9,100 people killed since protests erupted in strife-stricken Syria in mid-March 2011.

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