Arab League Chief Moussa
Photo: AFP
Defense Minister Barak
Photo: AP

Arab League: Lebanon at risk of civil war

Arab League chief urges calm amid Lebanon crisis; Toppling of government by Hezbollah internal Lebanese affair, Israeli official says, but Jerusalem keeping close eye on developments in neighboring country

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa called on Lebanon's political leaders Wednesday to "act calmly and wisely" in the wake of the local government's collapse, warning that the country faces the risk of civil war.


Moussa urged Lebanese leaders to "leave room for dialogue between the two sides, so that Lebanon will be able to avoid tensions and tragedies which won't be of use to anyone but its enemies." He stressed that "the Arab League supports Arab efforts invested in extricating Lebanon from the dangers of civil war and the deterioration to political and security disputes which will harm Lebanese interests."


Meanwhile, the fall of Lebanon's national unity government following the resignation of Hezbollah ministers and their allies has raised concerns in Israel.


Defense minister Ehud Barak addressed the recent developments at a closed-door session Wednesday and noted that Israel was "closely monitoring" events in Lebanon.


Officials in Jerusalem estimated that the toppling of Lebanon's government will not lead to escalation between the two states.


"Jerusalem conveyed indirect messages to Beirut whereby the Lebanese and regional interest is to maintain the calm and not be drawn to provocations and hasty actions," one official said.


"This is an internal Lebanese affair," the Foreign Ministry's Yossi Levy said. "However, we are closely monitoring developments."


Obama supports Hariri 

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama expressed support for Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and a UN-backed tribunal in talks on Wednesday amid the crisis in Beirut, the White House said.


Obama met Hariri in Washington and commended the Lebanese prime minister for his steadfast leadership and efforts to reach peace, stability, and consensus in Lebanon under difficult circumstances.


The president and PM reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence, implementing all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and continuing a wide-ranging and long-term partnership between the US and Lebanon.


Obama and Hariri also agreed that all parties should "avoid threats or action" that could cause further instability, and the White House said Hezbollah's resignation from his government showed its "own fear" and determination to undermine its ability to function.


'Transparent attempt to subvert justice'

Later, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Lebanon's coalition crisis on was a transparent attempt to subvert justice but vowed that the work of the UN-backed special tribunal would continue.


"We view what happened today as a transparent effort by those forces inside Lebanon as well as interests outside Lebanon to subvert justice and undermine Lebanon's stability and progress," Clinton told a news conference in Doha, Qatar, where she is attending a meeting of regional leaders.

  Meanwhile, Hariri has decided to cut short his visit to Washington following the resignation of 11 ministers in his government. He is now on his way to Paris where he will meet with French President Nicholas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace before returning to Lebanon.


Hariri called on Qatar and other neighboring countries to get involved in Lebanon's political crisis. Meanwhile, it was reported that the opposition in Lebanon is expected to hold a meeting to consider their next move.


Roee Nahmias, Attila Somfalvi, Ronen Medzini, Yitzhak Benhorin and Reuters contributed to the story



פרסום ראשון: 01.12.11, 19:57
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