The Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group slammed the letter sent by former five Lebanese Presidents and Prime Ministers to the Arab summit in Jordan, ahead of President Michel Aoun’s travel to take part in the summit, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday.
The group likened the letter “to a meeting held at the US embassy in Awkar during the 2006 July war between some Lebanese leaders and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, when the US was seeking to stop the war, while some of those leaders were enthusiastic about its continuation,” according to the daily.
Hezbollah has interpreted the letter as a clear invitation to carry on with the sanctions against Hezbollah, reported the daily.
The letter was signed by former Presidents Michel Suleiman and Amine Gemayel, along with former Prime Ministers Tammam Salam , Fouad Siniora and Najib Mikati. It stresses the importance of Lebanon’s commitment to the Taif accord and U.N. resolutions, especially UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and tackled controversial issues such as Hezbollah’s arms, the Baabda Declaration, Lebanon’s dissociation policy, the state’s authority over its territory and foreign interference in the Syrian crisis.
The participation of Lebanon in the summit received extra attention after the controversial letter and its repercussions are just beginning.
The letter caused great concern among Hezbollah and its allies and may have reflected a fear of a new era. This fear is based on previous negative experiences regarding the positions of Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil at previous Arab conferences. It also reflected concern over the positions of President Michel Aoun, who granted legitimacy to Hezbollah in a recent interview in Egypt .
The letter was politically embarrassing and its timing caused confusion, but it did, however, reflect the reality in terms of the division over the main issues in Lebanon, particularly Hezbollah’s weapons and Lebanon’s relations with its neighbors. The harsh attack on the five former leaders’ letter is only a confirmation of this.
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