NNA - The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri received today at the Grand Serail the Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheith, in the presence of Ambassadors Hossam Zaki and Abdel-Rahman Solh and former Minister Ghattas Khoury. Discussions focused on the latest developments in Lebanon and the region and continued over lunch.
After the meeting that lasted more than two hours, Aboul Gheith said: “I was honored this afternoon to meet with Prime Minister Hariri. It was a very good meeting during which we discussed a number of issues, most notably the regional situation, the outcome of the economic summit and the upcoming Arab- European Summit.
I also congratulated him on the formation of the government and on his selection of ministers, especially the new Minister of Interior. This never happened in the Arab world before, and we wish her success and to be able to leave a mark that will open the way to half the nation.”
Question: Many people linked your visit to the visit of the Iranian foreign minister. Is there a race for Lebanon or is it a coincidence?
Aboul Gheith: It is a coincidence, and there is no race between the Arab League and Iran, for one reason, which is that Lebanon is an Arab country and a member of the Arab League, and meetings with the Lebanese are very normal. I personally visited the Grand Serail and the residence of Prime Minister Hariri several times over the past years, whether when I was Minister of Foreign Affairs or when I became secretary-general of the Arab League.
The Arab League is interested in Lebanon and seeks to stabilize it and achieve all good for it. President Michel Aoun thanked me today for the contribution of the League and the assistance it provided to the success of the recent economic summit. Lebanon formed a committee to follow up on the resolutions of this summit, and the General Secretariat of the League formed a very active working group to implement the resolutions of the summit. Therefore, we will maintain our coordination and joint work for at least four years because the Lebanese presidency of the economic summit will continue for four years before it transfers to Mauritania in 2023. So no race at all, as Lebanon is a founding member of the Arab League.
Question: Did you discuss Syria's return to the Arab League?
Aboul Gheith: We touched upon the Syrian issue, and I explained the developments related to Syria’s vacant seat. However, we must be honest with ourselves, there is repeated talk in the media but there is no real move from the part of the member states of the League.