Lebanon: We want to keep Egypt ties unharmed

Suleiman says Lebanon using diplomacy to try and resolve the dispute between Hizbullah and Egypt.

suleiman laughs 248.88 (photo credit: )
suleiman laughs 248.88
(photo credit: )
Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman said he is using quiet diplomacy to try to resolve a dispute over allegations by officials in Egypt that Hizbullah plotted attacks there, a newspaper reported Saturday. Egypt announced earlier this month that it had uncovered a plot by 49 men with links to Hizbullah to destabilize the country by carrying out attacks on Egyptian institutions and Israeli tourists. In an interview with the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat published Saturday, Suleiman said he is using quiet diplomacy to try to keep the allegations from harming his country's relations with Egypt. "Our policy on this issue is quiet and serious - to solve it so that this will not affect the cordial relations between Lebanon and Egypt," Suleiman was quoted as saying. "We shouldn't talk much about this issue," he said. "The state is doing its job and the president is trying to find a fair and quiet solution to all." Egypt's allegations have raised concern about possible Hizbullah activity beyond Lebanon's borders at a time when terror group and political movement, together with its allies, stands a good chance of dominating the country's June 7 parliamentary elections. The United States and its allies among Arab governments like Egypt's are also fearful that an electoral win by Hizbullah and its allies would increase the sway of the group's backers Iran and Syria. On Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned what he said was Hizbullah's interference in the affairs of another country. "I am alarmed that Hizbullah publicly admitted to providing support to Gaza-based militants from Egyptian territory," Ban said Friday at the UN Security Council. "Such activity indicates that Hizbullah operates outside Lebanese territory and beyond its stated national agenda. I condemn such unwarranted interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign member state," he said. Ban renewed his call for Hizbullah to disarm and to transform into "a solely political party." Hizbullah has rejected local and foreign calls to disarm, saying its arsenal of weapons and rockets is needed to defend Lebanon against any Israeli attack.