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Archive for Lebanon

Newsline: Saudi Arabia summons ambassador from Germany over Lebanon comments

Saudi Arabia has summoned its ambassador in Germany home for consultations over comments by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel about the political crisis in Lebanon. The Saudi foreign ministry said the government also handed Germany’s representative in Riyadh a protest note over what it said were “shameful” comments Gabriel made after a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart. After a meeting in Berlin with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Gabriel told reporters that Europe “could not tolerate the adventurism that has spread there”. It was not clear from a Reuters television recording that the remark was targeted at Saudi Arabia. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned while in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4. “Such remarks provoke the surprise and disapproval of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which considers them as aimless and based on false information that would not help bring about stability in the region,” the Saudi ministry said. The ministry later said on its Twitter account it had summoned the German ambassador in Riyadh and handed him “a protest memorandum over the shameful and unjustified remarks made by the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.” Hariri’s abrupt resignation has raised concern over Lebanon’s stability.



Newsline: Columbian imposter poses as Lebanese diplomat

A Colombian man is being investigated for posing as a Lebanese diplomat after giving lectures on the Middle East and advising the Colombian military under a false identity, local media reported. Jeyson Puello, a resident of the northeast city of Valledupar, was using diplomatic papers with a UN seal to pass himself off as Jason Ali Hakim Abdullaziz Al Nayb, supposedly a high-ranking diplomat and former Lebanese foreign minister, news reports said. Despite his perfect Spanish and ordinary clothing, Puello managed to get into official meetings and establish a network of army contacts under the assumed identity. But a curious colonel who noticed the “diplomat” always arrived at meetings on foot contacted the Lebanese embassy in Bogota. “There’s no person by that name,” he was told in a letter printed in newsweekly Semana. The letter called on Colombian authorities to investigate and try the “imposter.” Police caught Puello by sending a fake invitation to “the honourable ambassador.” He was briefly detained but has been released pending further investigation. Puello had two diplomatic accreditations, one from the Colombian foreign ministry and another identifying him as the Lebanese ambassador, said daily newspaper El Tiempo. The Colombian foreign ministry declined to comment. The incident comes 50 years after a seminarian in Neiva, in central Colombia, passed himself off as India’s ambassador, living a lavish life until the ruse was discovered. The episode inspired the 1987 film “El Embajador de la India” (The Indian Ambassador).


Newsline: Iran’s diplomat accused Israel of reliance on militants in Mideast

The Iranian ambassador to Beirut says terrorist acts by militants in the Middle East serve the interests of Israel. Mohammad Fat-hali made the remarks in a meeting with Lebanese Shia cleric Sheikh Abdel Emir Qablan. The Lebanese cleric, for his part, urged a united front against Takfiri militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) carrying out terror acts in Iraq, Lebanon and other regional countries.


Newsline: Saudi ambassador leaves Lebanon after blast

The Saudi ambassador to Beirut has reportedly left Lebanon after the Friday terrorist attack by a Takfiri group which targeted the Lebanese security chief. Ali Awad Assiri left Lebanon after tens of terrorism suspects were arrested, IRNA reported. Informed sources say most of the suspects apprehended at the hotels in Al Hamra district in downtown Beirut are foreign nationals with Arab passports, including Saudi individuals, and even French citizens. Following the terrorist incident, the US ambassador to Lebanon cancelled his meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and France urged its citizens across Lebanon to avoid outdoor activities. At least two people were killed and nearly 30 others injured after a bomb blast rocked a Lebanese police checkpoint on the Beirut-Damascus highway on Friday.


Newsline: Lebanese ambassador to South Korea killed in car crash

The Lebanese ambassador to South Korea died in a car accident in central Seoul on Thursday, police and fire officials said. A sedan driven by Jad Saeed El-Hassan, the top Lebanese diplomat in Seoul, rear-ended another car inside Namsan No. 3 Tunnel at about 12:08 p.m., according to the Yongsan Police Station. The ambassador died en route to a nearby hospital, while two people in the other vehicle were slightly injured, the officials said. Police said they are investigating the exact cause of the accident, including whether the ambassador was driving under the influence of alcohol. An official of the Lebanese Embassy in Seoul declined to comment on the ambassador’s death and said the office will soon have a briefing about the accident. In September, the diplomat underwent police questioning over a hit-and-run accident in the Itaewon district of Seoul. El-Hassan was assigned as the top Lebanese envoy to Seoul in April 2013.


Newsline: Iran’s embassy in Lebanon condemns killing of journalists in Syria

Iran’s embassy in Lebanon has strongly condemned the recent killing of three journalists who worked with Lebanese al-Manar television by the Takfiri terrorists in Syria. Al-Manar TV station said on Monday that three members of its staff were killed after they came under attack from the foreign-backed militants in the Syrian town of Ma’loula. Al-Manar identified the men as correspondent Hamza al-Hajj Hassan, technician Halim Allaw and cameraman Mohammed Mantash. Several other crew members were wounded. The shooting came shortly after Syrian armed forces retook the full control of Ma’loula. Iran’s embassy in Beirut issued a statement in condemnation of the terrorist act. The embassy also expressed condolences to Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, the employees of the al-Manar network, the Lebanese Information Ministry, the families of the killed staff, and the Lebanese nation. According Reporters Without Borders (RSF), over 130 news providers were killed in Syria between March 2011 to December 2013. A Press TV correspondent is among the dead.


Newsline: Lebanon steps up security around Russian embassy following tip-off

Lebanese authorities have beefed up security around the Russian embassy in Beirut after receiving intelligence reports that the embassy would be targeted by “a major terrorist operation,” a security official said. “Foreign intelligence agencies informed Lebanese authorities that a major terrorist operation was being hatched with the Russian embassy in Beirut as its target,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Anadolu Agency. Observers have suggested that militant groups might target the Russian embassy due to Moscow’s overt support for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime. “The Russian embassy, in coordination with Lebanese security forces, has taken the necessary measures to protect its personnel,” the official asserted. Last November, the al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for an attack on the Iranian embassy in Beirut which killed 24 people, including the Iranian culture attaché.