Cairo: Saudi Arabia’s ties with Lebanon are too deep-rooted to be affected by “irresponsible and absurd” statements, the kingdom’s ambassador to Beirut Waleed Bukhari said, according to Saudi media.
His remarks were the first by a Saudi official since chief of Lebanon’s Iran-allied Hezbollah group Hassan Nasrallah lashed out at the kingdom earlier this week despite attempts by the Lebanese government to end strains in ties with the Gulf nations.
“The kingdom sides with the Lebanese people with all its categories. The kingdom believes these stances do not represent the brotherly Lebanese people,” Bukhari was quoted by Saudi newspaper Okaz as saying.
He added that Saudi Arabia shares a responsibility with the international community to maintain Lebanon’s stability and respect for its sovereignty and unity.
“Insistence of the terrorist Hezbollah to impose its hold on the Lebanese state’s willpower and its constitutional instiutions is the real obstacle to peace and security in Lebanon.”
The Saudi envoy urged the Lebanese government to halt political, military, security and media activities harming Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.
“The kingdom looks forward to seeing security and peace prevail in Lebanon by ending possession of weapons outside the state’s control.” He also called for ending what he termed as “terrorist Hezbollah’s control” of the state in Lebanon.
“The terrorist Hezbollah’s activities and regional military behaviour threatens the Arab national security,” said Bukhari.
Last week, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz voiced support to Lebanon that has recently been locked in a diplomatic row with the Gulf countries after a former government minister there claimed Yemen’s Iran-aligned Al Houthi rebels were acting in self-defence. The crisis has added to Lebanon’s economic woes.