Lebanon president, Rai oppose foreign intervention in Syria


suleiman w patriarch rai 033113Some Lebanese officials expressed their opposition Sunday to foreign intervention in Syria. This came after US President Barack Obama decided that the United States should take military action in Syria but that he will seek a vote in Congress to authorize that use of force.

President Michel Suleiman rejected the possible U.S. military strike on Syria in response to the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons, and reiterated the need for a political solution in the neighboring country.

“It is necessary to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis and foreign military interference is unacceptable, despite the fact that we disapprove of the use of chemical weapons,” Suleiman said in a televised speech on Sunday.

He called for “holding accountable” the persons who allegedly used the weapons.

The president also stressed that Lebanon must distance itself from all future developments in Syria.

Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Beshara Boutros al-Rai also expressed his opposition to any military action against Syria.

“We are against any foreign intervention in Syria [using] weapons and fire,” Rai said on Sunday following a meeting with Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Yuhanna X Yazigi.

He also called for a “diplomatic solution” to the Syrian war that has so far resulted in the death of over 110,000 people.

The United States Congress ( which includes the House of Representatives and the Senate) expects to begin consideration of a possible military strike against Syria the week of September 9 after Obama postponed the threatened missile strikes and decided to seek the Congress’ approval for action against the Syrian regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

This is a developing story …reaction by other Lebanese officials to follow.

Elsewhere in the region

The Arab League is currently discussing the ongoing crisis in Syria at a closed-door meeting in Cairo.

The Arab League on Tuesday accused the Syrian government of carrying out a chemical-weapons attacks in a suburb of Damascus that killed hundreds of people, including children, on August 21.

Permanent representatives condemned what they called the “horrible crime carried out with internationally prohibited chemical weapons”, and put the “entire responsibility” on President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

While some Arab League members, including Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia and Algeria, have expressed opposition to foreign military intervention in Syria, Saudi Arabia said it is time for the world to do everything it could to prevent aggression against the Syrian people, and that it would back a US strike on Syria if the Syrian people did.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal made his comments on Sunday during the Arab League meeting in Cairo