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Lebanon FM to skip Arab League foreign ministers summit on Iran, sources tell AFP

AFP , Sunday 19 Nov 2017
Lebanese FM
A file photo of Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil speaking during a meeting with Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano in Rome, Italy, November 15, 2017 (Photo: Reuters)
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Lebanon's foreign minister will not attend an extraordinary Arab League meeting on Sunday called by Saudi Arabia to discuss "violations" committed by Iran, a ministry source told AFP.

Arab foreign ministers will gather in Cairo on Sunday at the request of Riyadh, whose simmering regional rivalry with Tehran has escalated in recent weeks.

But Lebanon's top diplomat Gebran Bassil will not be among them, a foreign ministry source said.

"This morning, a decision was taken that Lebanon would be presented by Antoine Azzam, the permanent representative to the Arab League," the source said.

"Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil will not be present."

For more than a decade, Lebanon's political class has been largely split between Iran-backed movement Hezbollah and its allies, and a Saudi-supported coalition led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Hariri stepped down from his post on November 4 in a televised address from Riyadh, sparking fears Lebanon would be caught up in the spiralling tensions between Riyadh and Tehran.

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