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Lebanese President Blames US-Russia Standoff For Middle East Destabilization

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On March 26th, Lebanese President Michel Aoun blamed the US-Russia standoff for the general destabilization in the Middle East. He did so during his visit to Moscow for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The usual US-linked Lebanese leader also criticized US President Donald Trump’s unilateral recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Before meeting the Russian president, Aoun met with Russian lawmakers and specifically the Chairman of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin. During the talks, Aoun openly blamed the situation in the Middle East on the US-Russian relations.

In essence, today the situation in the Middle East region has become hostage to relations between the Russian Federation and the United States,” he said.

He also reiterated that the announcement of US recognition of Golan Heights as Israeli territory affected Lebanon negatively.

“We believe that the leader of a foreign state does not have the right to dispose of foreign territories like that. Moreover, this is fraught with escalation of social discontent, not to mention that such steps contradict the most openly international law and the decisions of the UN Security Council,” the Lebanese President said.

The Russian State Duma Speaker criticized the US and said that “the actions of the United States are detrimental to global security and the previously reached agreements.”

According to Volodin “everything that has been done for decades in achieving peace, maintaining balance between different countries, somewhere fragile, somewhere very complicated, built on dialogue and international agreements, today we see it collapsing because of that the leadership of the United States by its actions cancels the previously reached agreements and makes decisions that go against the UN resolution, international rights and international agreements. “

He also foresaw that it wouldn’t lead to anything good.

It is apparent, however, that the Golan Heights issue is unrelated to the US-Russia competition, but rather it is a result of the US apparent agenda of forwarding Israel’s interest in the region.

At the start of his talks with Putin, the Lebanese leader criticized Trump’s decision to recognize Golan Heights as Israeli territory. He said that Trump’s decision “undermines the foundations and rules of the United Nations and international law” and “causes particular concern in the countries neighboring Israel.”

Lebanese President Blames US-Russia Standoff For Middle East Destabilization

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Putin provided no comment on the issue but praised Lebanon as Moscow’s “traditional partner” in the Middle East region.

He also said that a wave of Syrian refugees might flood Europe soon, since Lebanon doesn’t have the capacity to handle all of them.

“We have 500,000 Palestinian refugees and about 1.5 million Syrians. It is a high figure for our country,” Aoun stressed. “Europe is directly interested in solving the situation, as Syrian refugees staying in Lebanon are not satisfied with the economic situation in the country and new and new migrant waves to Europe will start soon.”

Michel Aoun also disregards the reality that the Lebanese government also played a part in the destabilization of the region, by dealing with various powers that directly or indirectly work towards destabilizing the region, such as Washington, Tel Aviv and even some militant groups.

Furthermore, General Michel Aoun has a history of being supported by the US and France, and his anti-Syrian position is also quite apparent. A glance at his biography shows his long-standing opposition of Syria and policy against it.

Aoun has, since 2017 called for the return of refugees to Syria and has asked the EU and Russia for assistance repeatedly.

On March 21st, 2019, Aoun claimed that ties with Syria were normalized and that Lebanon would like to take part in its reconstruction.

“The ties with Syria are normalized, seeing as they’re characterized by the presence of an ambassador in each of the two countries, and therefore they’re not severed. Lebanon wants to take part in its reconstruction,” he said.

Aoun also accused the international community of “taking refugees as a hostage in order to receive the price in the political solution. Lebanon takes notice of the international conditions, but it will act according to its higher interest.”

When he was elected in 2016, he vowed to protect Lebanon from “regional fires” such as the Syrian conflict. The US State Department described his election as “a moment of opportunity.”

His sporadic allegiances to Israel also become apparent in his claims that Israel’s destruction of Hezbollah tunnels at the Israel-Lebanon border present no risk to peace.

“We certainly took this issue seriously – the presence of tunnels at the border – and Israel informed us via the United States that it does not have aggressive intentions and it will continue to work on its (territory). We also do not have aggressive intentions… We are ready to remove the causes of the dispute, but after we obtain a final report and we set out the matters that need to be dealt with,” Aoun said in December 2018.

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