Manama: Bahrain’s foreign minister has stressed that Saudi Arabia’s decision to halt aid to Lebanon was sound and deserved to be supported.
“We have issued a formal endorsement of the Saudi decision which we see as sound,” Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa said. “Lebanon has to realise that it is part of the Arab nation and that its Arab brothers support it and stand by it at all times. Lebanon has to be fully aware of such a fact and take it into consideration,” the minister told the media on Sunday evening as he attended in Manama the launch of a documentary on Bahrain’s relations with the United Nations.
Saudi Arabia on Friday said it was suspending a $3 billion aid package for the Lebanese army and canceled the remainder of $1 billion in aid for Lebanon’s internal security services.
The decision was backed on the same day by Saudi Arabia’s fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members the UAE and Bahrain.
A Saudi official attributed the decision to the failure of Lebanon to join the Arab and Muslim countries in condemning the Iranian attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran and in Meshhad.
According to Gulf reports, Beirut’s stance resulted from the pressure exerted by the Lebanese militia Hezbollah and Iran.
On Sunday, Lebanon’s justice minister Ashraf Rifi said he was resigning over what he called Hezbollah’s “domination” of the country’s government.
“There is an armed party that is dominating the government’s decision,” Rifi, said in a statement, referring to Hezbollah, which has representation in the parliament and maintains a military militia.
“Hezbollah has used this government to consolidate its project of a mini-state. It wanted to use it as a tool to extend its control over the state and its decisions,” Rifa reportedly said.
In his tweets on Friday, Shaikh Khalid said that Lebanon had to make a choice.
“Lebanon must choose between belonging to its [Arab] nation and brothers and co-existing with a terrorist agent who terribly harms the country and its entity,” Shaikh Khalid posted on his account where he has 264,000 followers.
In another tweet, he said that the “Hezbollah terror group is not only the enemy of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and all Arabs, but he is also the top nemesis of Lebanon and its unity and its genuine Arab civilisation.”
In March 2013, Bahrain’s parliament declared Hezbollah a terrorist organisation.