UNSC to Syria: Hands off Lebanon

UN resolution draft urges Syria to delineate border, disarm Hizbullah.

syrian troops leave leba (photo credit: AP [file])
syrian troops leave leba
(photo credit: AP [file])
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said Friday the UN Security Council's involvement in Syria and Lebanon may impede attempts to reach a better understanding between the two countries. Moallem spoke in Kuwait hours after the United States, France and Britain introduced a draft resolution in the Security Council that urged Syria to establish diplomatic ties with Lebanon and delineate the border between the two countries. The draft also calls on Syria, as well as Iran, to work for the disarmament of militia in Lebanon - a reference to Hezbollah, which is backed by Damascus and Tehran. "We believe that the relations between the two countries, Syria and Lebanon, do not need to be laid down," Moallem told reporters after talks with his Kuwaiti counterpart, Sheik Mohammed Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah. "What the Security Council is trying to do might hinder the ongoing efforts to clear the weather between Syria and Lebanon," Moallem added. Russia and China may oppose the resolution when it comes to the vote as they are believed to regard it as interfering in Syrian-Lebanese affairs. Moallem said his government "accepts in principle" the idea of forging diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon, but was waiting for a better atmosphere. "When the right time comes, and when the mood is good," he said of an exchange of ambassadors. Syria has long refused to establish diplomatic relations with Lebanon, arguing that the two countries are too close for such formal ties. But Lebanese suspect the real reason is that many Syrians regard Lebanon as historically a part of their country - as much of Lebanon did belong to Syria until France redrew the border in the colonial period. Moallem reiterated that his government denied Jordan's allegation that activists of the militant Palestinian group Hamas had smuggled arms into the kingdom from Syria. "I deny that," he said of the allegation, which resurfaced this week when Jordanian state television broadcast confessions of three of the detained Hamas activists. "We care about Jordan and the Jordanian people and their safety, and we are keen to achieve constructive relations between Syria and Jordan," he said. Hamas has also denied that its members smuggled weapons into Jordan and that they were allegedly plotting to attack Jordanian intelligence officers.