Lebanon PM reprimanded FM over his behavior at Arab League


mikati defLebanon’s Premier Najib Mikati sent a strongly worded letter to the country’s Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour in response to the remarks he made about Syria at the Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo, MTV reported.

MTV television also reported that the alleged reprimand was sent by the prime minister on Friday, however, the FM denied receiving any such letter, which reportedly prompted Mikati to threaten to expose it to the public if Mansour did not officially acknowledge receipt of the reprimand.

Arab League ( AL) ministers debated last Wednesday whether to award Syria’s vacant seat in the regional bloc to the opposition Syrian National Coalition, diplomats said.

Damascus was suspended from membership of the Cairo-based League in November 2011, eight months into what began as a peaceful popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

But Mansour objected the move and told the Arab League ministerial meeting: “I call for Syria’s membership of the Arab League to be lifted,” adding “Communication with Syria … is essential for a political solution.”

“We have held meetings over two years and taken decision after decision thinking that with them we will be providing Syria with security and stability by removing the regime and replacing it with another – while Syria sank into blood and destruction,”added Mansour.

Qatar, which has led efforts at the League against Damascus, blamed Assad for nearly two years of bloodshed in Syria in which an estimated 70,000 people have been killed.

“The person who brought a sea of blood is Bashar because he did not commit to the Arab decisions and did not cooperate with us,” Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani told the meeting.

Mansour was accused on Wednesday by former PM Saad Hariri of acting on behalf of the Syrian regime when he called for lifting Syria’s suspension from the Arab League .

“What kind of a dissociation policy is this and who authorized him to speak on behalf of the Syrian regime” , Hariri was quoted as saying ” .

He asked: “Is he the Foreign minister of Lebanon or Syria ?”

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government is dominated by Hezbollah which has been supporting the Syrian regime in its crackdown against the uprising . Mikati according to observers cannot fire Mansour for disobedience because he is a member of the Amal party which is headed by Speaker Nabih Berri a key ally of Hezbollah.

Mikati, along with president Michel Suleiman have sought to follow a policy of “dissociation” from the conflict in Lebanon’s dominant neighbor, but they are powerless since the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group calls all the shots now in Lebanon , according to observers

One million refugees have fled Syria, piling pressure on its neighbors the United Nations refugee agency said on Wednesday. Lebanon, which is hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees despite being the smallest country in the region is struggling to support them.

On Thursday Mansour commented on the criticism against his statements and said that he was “ doing what is best” for Lebanon and all its people.

Lebanon is divided on the Syrian issue. Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc leader MP Mohammed Raad defended on Thursday the remarks made by Minister Mansour on Syria during the Arab League ministerial meeting in Cairo , saying that they “accurately reflect the Lebanese government’s policy of disassociation with regards to Syria”.