Lebanese politicians attack Hezbollah over Saudi aid cut

Two prominent Lebanese politicians Saturday lashed out at Shiite movement Hezbollah and its allies over Saudi Arabia's decision to halt a 4-billion-dollar military aid programme.

"Hezbollah and their allies the Free Patriotic Movement are to blame for the suspension of the Saudi military aid," said former premier Saad Hariri, who recently returned to Lebanon after a long stay abroad.

The head of the Christian Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, called on the pro-Iranian Hezbollah movement to stop making "fiery" statements against the conservative Sunni kingdom.

"The Lebanese government must convene and issue a formal request for Hezbollah to stop their verbal attacks against Saudi Arabia," Geagea told a press conference.

On Friday, Saudi Arabia said it was halting the military aid programme in protest at Lebanon's failure to support the kingdom in its recent row with Iran, and at what it said were hostile "political and media positions led by the so-called Hezbollah in Lebanon."

The Saudi announcement affects two deals. One, for 3 billion dollars in military hardware for the armed forces and another 1 billion dollars in aid for the police.

Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic relations with Iran last month, angered by the Islamic Republic's criticism of its execution of a prominent dissident Shiite clergyman and a mob attack on its embassy in Tehran.

Hezbollah is also a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has committed troops to help his forces.

Saudi Arabia has been a key backer of the Syrian opposition since the start of the uprising against al-Assad in 2011.

Turkey expressed Saturday its willingness to provide Lebanon with military aid worth 1.1 million dollars, the Lebanese National News Agency reported.

Last update: Sat, 20/02/2016 - 16:52
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