Mind your own business: Saudi to Iran

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Dubai, May 14: In a stark signal reflecting the concern of the Gulf Arab states over the increasing military might of Iran, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal has warned that Iran's support for Hezbollah's ''coup'' in Lebanon would affect Tehran's relations with Arab and Islamic countries.

The Gulf Arab states are overly concerned about the Iran backed Hezbollah militia which is in open conflict with the Lebanese army. ''Of course, for Iran to back the coup that happened in Lebanon and support it will have an impact on its relations with all Arab countries,'' Prince Saud told reporters in Riyadh. Prince Saud said the Kingdom was deeply concerned about what he called the ''coup'' that had taken place in Lebanon. He called on regional players not to interfere in Lebanon's political affairs and undermine its sovereignty.

''The Kingdom renews its calls to all regional parties to respect the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon and to desist from interfering in its internal affairs and provoking sectarian strife,'' the Saudi minister was quoted as saying by Arab News.

''The Kingdom expresses its grave concern over the continuing armed confrontations in Lebanon and their spread to many Lebanese areas and cities and its strong regret over Lebanese arms being turned inward against the Lebanese, the nation and its institutions,'' Prince Saud added.

Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador in Beirut for consultations and he will return once calm is restored, Prince Saud said and added that the Saudi Embassy in Beirut would remain open.

He urged the Lebanese Army to restore public order and called for its capacities to be bolstered, but noted that this support should come from the Lebanese government itself.


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