RIYADH, 20th February 2016 (WAM) — Members of the Cooperation Council for Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) have declared their full backing for Saudi Arabia’s decision to conduct a comprehensive review of its relations with Lebanon and halt its US$4 billion arms deals for the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces.
“The members of the GCC back the decision which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia made in response to Lebanon’s official positions that contravene pan-Arab consensus and are not in line with the deep relations between the GCC and Lebanon and the great support extended by Saudi Arabia and other GCC members,” Secretary-General of the seven-member GCC, Abdullatif Al Zayani, said in a statement.
Al Zayani added that members of the GCC highly regret the fact that “Lebanon’s decision has been taken hostage by foreign regional powers, is running against the pan-Arab security and the interests of the Arab Nation and is not representative of the people of Lebanon.”
“The GCC members reiterate their support for the Lebanese people and their right to live in a stable and safe state that is fully sovereign,” the GCC secretary-general said.
The Saudi decision comes after Lebanon declined to support resolutions against Iran during two meetings of Arab and Muslim foreign ministers at the League of Arab States and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
On Friday, a Saudi official was quoted by state-run Saudi Press Agency as saying the Iran-backed Hezbollah had “hijacked the will of the state in Lebanon” and “is perpetrating terrorism against Saudi Arabia, the Arab Nation and the Muslim Nation.”
The Saudi official blamed the influence of Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon for Riyadh’s decision, denouncing the group’s political and media campaigns and terrorist acts against Saudi Arabia and other Arab and Islamic countries.
Saudi Arabia’s relations with Iran, which supports Hezbollah and the embattled head of the Syrian regime Bashar Al Assad, took a turn for the worse at the start of the year with the mob attacks on the two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran after the Kingdom’s execution of 47 terrorism convicts, including persons closely linked with Iran.