Report: Former Presidents, PMs Forward Letter to Arab Summit

A general views shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C-back) attending the Arab League summit in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on March 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED

A new difficulty has surfaced on the eve of the Arab summit after reports said that five former presidents and premiers of Lebanon have sent a letter to head of the Arab summit including negative positions of Hizbullah -which was interpreted as bypassing Lebanon’s position, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Tuesday.

Lebanon’s participation in the summit is keen on highlighting the image and consistent position of the country during the new term of President Michel Aoun with PM Saad Hariri’s participation. But what drew the attention was a message sent to the summit by five former presidents and prime ministers which perturbs Lebanon’s stance during the summit, said the daily.

Credible sources told the newspaper on condition of anonymity that “ex-Presidents Amin Gemayel, Michel Suleiman and ex-PMs Fouad Saniora, Tammam Salam and Najib Miqati have sent a letter to the Arab summit.

“The three-page letter focused on five issues: Emphasizing the Taef Accord, emphasizing commitment to international resolutions particularly UN resolution 1701, illegal arms, the Baabda Declaration, the dissociation policy, spreading of the state authority and cessation of external involvements in the Syrian crisis.”

The five presidents sent copies of the letter to Aoun, Hariri and Speaker Nabih Berri who have all expressed annoyance with the step which Berri described as “unprecedented step and unacceptable,” said the daily.

Official sources told the daily: “The step is incomprehensible as for its content, meaning and purpose. It is also an insult to the position of the Presidency and an attempt to bypass Aoun especially that Lebanon will be represented by its president (at the summit).”

They remarked that the measure will only make Lebanon look divided against itself and weaken its position in front of the world’s Arab leaders.

In spite of that, Lebanon still sees an opportunity ahead mainly after the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting in Jordan on Monday “unanimously” approved a clause about “solidarity with Lebanon” that is expected to be included in the draft closing statement of the upcoming Arab Summit, it added.

The Arab foreign ministers met to prepare for the Arab League’s annual summit, set for Wednesday in Jordan.