WikiLeaks : Amr Moussa denies planned Saudi intervention in Lebanon

Dina Ezzat , Thursday 9 Dec 2010

Arab League Chief Amr Moussa calls a newly released WikiLeaks cable, describing a Saudi-Egyptian iniative to dispose of Hezbollah, as "mere allegations"

Amr Mousa
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa denies claims raised by WikiLeaks documents indicating a Saudi-Egyptian intiative to depose Hezbollah. (AP)

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa denied a report issued by WikiLeaks yesterday, suggesting that Saudi Arabia worked with Egypt, under the umbrella of the Arab League, to introduce an Arab force in Lebanon for the purpose of neutralising the political and military weight of Hezbollah.

"Mere allegations," Moussa told reporters at the Arab League headquarters.

Yesterday, The Guardian published a WikiLeaks cable indicating that in 2008 the Saudi kingdom proposed the deployment of an Arab military force backed by US and NATO airpower to Lebanon. The envisioned force would have been positioned to contain the perceived threat posed to the Sunni led government, supported by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, by Shia resistance movement Hezbollah.

According to the WikiLeaks account the proposal was made by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal during talks with US diplomat David Satterfield in May 2008.

 "This account is not compatible with the approach that was actually acted upon: a consensual settlement of the political disagreement," Moussa stressed.

The Arab League chief argued that the Doha agreement, which ended the sectarian rift, accommodated the views of both the Lebanese government and Hezbollah.

Moussa insisted that there is no Arab hostility towards Hezbollah.

The WikiLeaks account comes amid intense efforts to contain the possible outbreak of a new civil war in Lebanon. Sectarian tensions are rising due to an expected international indictment of Hezbollah members for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Al-Hariri.

"The indictment was expected to come out next week but is now delayed for a couple of more weeks," said an informed legal Arab source.

The delay, according to concerned Arab diplomats, was approved to allow Hezbollah and the Lebanese government more time to reach an agreement on ways of avoiding a possible backlash once the expected indictment is issued.

Saudi Arabia, Syria and France are hard at work to find a way out, but it is not certain that this exit will be secured.


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