“Our stance is clear on rejecting Hezbollah’s interference and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is using Lebanon as an operations room for its foreign operations in Yemen, Syria and other places,” Mashnouq said in an interview with Al-Arabiya television.
“We will do all we can to prevent Lebanon from being turned into a Persian thorn in the thigh of Arabs,” the minister vowed.
“We are voicing a political, peaceful stance and we do not want a military confrontation or a sectarian strife,” he underlined.
Mashnouq was speaking only hours after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah renewed his verbal attacks against Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf countries over the conflicts in Yemen, Iraq and Syria and linked Riyadh’s latest measures against Lebanon and Hezbollah to what he called the kingdom’s “failure in Yemen and Syria.”
Saudi Arabia has linked its measures to Lebanon’s refusal to join the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in condemning attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran last month, and alleged Hezbollah “terrorist acts against Arab and Muslim nations.”
“The entire world will realize that in Lebanon there are political forces that do not accept that Lebanon be taken hostage of foreign policies that are not in the interest of the Lebanese,” Mashnouq said on Sunday.
“Arab negligence towards Lebanon is what made us reach this situation. The Arab confrontation decision goes back to a few weeks ago only while we have been offering martyrs for the past ten years,” he told the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television.
Turning to his participation at the conference of Arab interior ministers in Tunisia earlier this week, Mashnouq said he told the Arab officials there “that the Arab confrontation decision came as a surprise but the means of confrontation require preparation and readiness.”
“Some ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council states expressed understanding of my stance in Tunisia and congratulated me on it and I was not told about any dismay,” the minister added, referring to his rejection of a clause that described Hezbollah as as “terrorist” organization in the meeting’s closing statement.
Mashnouq had accused Hezbollah in late February of having “trained” Iran-linked militants who have been allegedly captured in several countries across the world. “Iranian revolutionary guard terrorist cells that were captured in eight countries comprised members who were trained in Lebanon” at the hands of Hezbollah, Mashnouq said.
Saudi Arabia launched a series of measures February 19 when the its foreign ministry announced that the kingdom was suspending around $4 billion in military aid to the Lebanese army and security forces. The kingdom later slapped sanctions on individuals and firms that have ties to Hezbollah and advised its citizens against travel to Lebanon while urging those already in the country to leave it. 4 other Aran Gulf countries followed suit and issued warnings against travel to Lebanon.
Saudi Arabia has also pushed the Gulf Cooperation Council to label Hezbollah as a “terrorist” organization and accuse it of “terrorist acts and incitement in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and in Iraq.”
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