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Gebran-Bassil- NYCThe Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil failed to convince the Lebanese Investment and Work Council in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to refrain from boycotting the Lebanese Diaspora Energy Conference, which is organized by the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for all the expatriates around the world.

Earlier this month, the “Work Council”, which represents Lebanese working in Saudi Arabia, has announced boycotting the conference following the ministry’s stances that did not get along with the Arab Consensus in the Arab and Islamic conference that were held in Jeddah and Cairo after attacking the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its Consulate in Mashhad.

Asharq Al-Awsat was informed that Minister Bassil sent a letter to the council urging it to refrain from their boycott decision. Bassil also explained in his letter the reasons why he took such decisions saying that he wanted to “protect the internal national unity”.

However, the Work Council refused to participate in the conference; considering it a “warning bell” to rectify consequences of this crisis.

The council also noted that this stance is unanimous and final, and it has been taken by all the Lebanese living in Gulf countries.

Bassil said in the letter he sent for the council ( Asharq Al-Awsat received a copy ) that the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the Iranian attacks on the two Saudi missions in Tehran and Mashhad, pointing out that he asserted this stance during the ministerial level exceptional meeting for the Arab League Council.

He confirmed in the meeting the Lebanese stance, which condemned and denounced the attacks, and his country’s solidarity with Saudi authorities in this framework.

Bassil also noted that when the decision was announced back then, Iraq expressed its reservation and Oman warned from the consequences of the hasty stances, this is why Lebanon decided to distance itself from this resolution in order to maintain Arab solidarity and not to obstruct the consensus.

He added: “Based on the stances of the Lebanese government and its ministerial statement, which calls for committing with the self-distancing policy towards the consequences of the neighboring crises, Lebanon is not obstructing Arab consensus but facilitating adoption of the resolution without any reservation.”

Moreover, the Foreign Minister justified adopting self-distancing policy, saying that it he is trying as much as he can to not threaten the Lebanese internal unity, pointing at Iran’s proxy Hezbollah.

Bassil distanced himself from two articles when the draft resolution on the Iranian interventions was introduced; one of these two articles included considering the so-called Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

On the other hand, the Lebanese Investment and Work Council in KSA reiterated its confirmation for boycotting the conference that will be held in Beirut next month.

For his part, the Secretary of the Council Rabih al-Amin explained for Asharq Al-Awsat that the council’s stance will not change as it is considered a warning bell to mend the consequences of this crisis.

Ash Sharq al Awsat

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