Syrian Ambassador Hands Mansour Message from Muallem: Jaafari’s Letter Based on Facts

Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 15:52
Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali stated on Tuesday that the discovery of the Lutfallah II ship that was smuggling arms to Syria was among the factors that prompted the Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari to send a letter to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon complaining about Lebanon’s alleged harboring of “terrorist elements.”

Ali stated after holding talks with Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour: “Jaafari’s letter is based on facts on the ground in Lebanon.”

He also handed Masnour a letter from his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem.

In his letter, Jaafari claimed that some Lebanese areas near the Lebanese-Syrian border “have become an incubator for terrorist elements from the al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood organizations who are tampering with the security of Syria and its citizens.”

President Michel Suleiman condemned the letter, saying that it is not “based on verified facts.”

Ali continued: “Investigations in the arms smuggling ship are ongoing and Syria is interested in the results of the inquiry in order to uncover the powers supporting the smuggling of weapons to the country.”

“These violations pose a danger to Syria and Lebanon and you have recently witnessed the consequences of these operations,” he remarked without adding further details.

Furthermore, he said that Qatar and Saudi Arabia had announced, through their respective foreign ministers, that they support gunmen and the opposition in Syria.

“Investigations in Lebanon and elsewhere have found that some sides are funding these forces,” added the ambassador.

On April 27, the Lebanese navy intercepted the Lutfallah II off the Batroun coast as it was allegedly heading to Syria.

The Lebanese army said that it seized three containers containing large quantity of heavy, medium and light ammunition, adding that the 11 crew members of various Arab and foreign nationalities were detained.

Ali also noted the dangers that the al-Qaida terrorist organization could pose to Lebanon and Syria, as demonstrated in the discovery of members of this group in the recent clashes that broke out in Lebanon.

“The unrest is the product of the funding and arming of gunmen and powers harboring such criminal forces that threaten the whole region and not just Syria,” Ali said.

Asked if he is implying that the discovery of Lutfallah II and the kidnapping of the 11 Lebanese pilgrims in Syria, he replied: “Extremism on the ground could spread to other areas and therefore the greater picture on the ground must be examined.”

The ambassador urged the people in Syria, Lebanon, and the region to exercise diligence and reject all powers that are seeking to create strife in the area in order to empower Israel.

“Syria was aware of these dangers and it began to seriously implement reform and combat extremist and terrorist forces,” he stressed.

Asked if he has any information about the kidnapped Lebanese pilgrims, he replied: “Coordination is ongoing between the Lebanese and Syrian foreign ministries.”

“We believe however that the circumstances of the kidnapping have become clear and we hope that the captives will return to their families,” state Ali.

“We hope Lebanon will be fortified against any attempt to create strife,” he stressed.

On May 22, 11 Lebanese pilgrims were abducted in Aleppo as they were on their way by land to Lebanon from a pilgrimage to Iran.

It is unknown who has abducted them, with claims that the rebel Free Syrian Army is behind the operation, allegations it has denied.
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