Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry said the Arab League’s recent decision labelling Hezbollah as a “terrorist group” is related to perceived acts of terrorism, but the group remains a domestic issue in Lebanon.
In an interview with local newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabaa on Sunday, Shoukry said Hezbollah is considered a terrorist group in some countries but has no classification in the international community as, according to the minister, the international community has not yet agreed on a unified definition for terrorism.
The Arab League designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group earlier this month.
Regarding Egypt’s stance towards considering the Lebanese party as a terrorist group, Shoukry said: “I won’t judge. Hezbollah has a special situation in Lebanon, and Lebanon is suffering from severe political unrest, and this is an issue that should be solved internally.”
Shoukry also added that the Egyptian stance toward Hezbollah comes within the context of some acts of the party being considered as acts of terrorism, but he insisted that the issue is a domestic, Lebanese concern.
Political analyst Hasan Nafaa previously told Daily News Egypt that the decision will change nothing in Arab countries’ policy toward Hezbollah.
“The Arab League’s decisions are always symbolic, and no action on the ground will result from this decision,” Nafaa said. “The decision will increase polarisation and conflict in the Middle East.”
The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Hezbollah is part of a broader conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which escalated due to the execution of prominent Shi’a cleric Nimr Al-Nimr in January. Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah said earlier that the Saudi decision to cut aid will force Lebanon to enter a new phase in the conflict.
Shoukry described the Iran-Gulf conflict as a “political conflict” that existed even before the Iranian Islamic revolution. However, while it was competitive before, now Iran has added a sectarian perspective, according to Shoukry.
Saudi Arabia’s minister of foreign affairs Adel Al-Jubair said at news conference with his South African counterpart Sunday that Iran must change its “behaviour” towards his country if it wants normal ties with Riyadh.
Al Jubair added that Saudi Arabia wants to have peaceful relations with Tehran and after several attempts with Iran for more than three decades it has received nothing in exchange.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries severed their ties with Tehran following the attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran.
Meanwhile, Kuwaiti authorities annulled the residence permits of 60 Lebanese nationals “due to their relation to Hezbollah”, which is also considered a terror group by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Their permanent residency permits were changed to two-month temporary residency permits in order to give them time to leave, reported local newspaper Al-Qabas.
Al-Qabas also cited a Kuwaiti security official as saying that the authorities are preparing another list of Iraqi and Lebanese residents in order to deport them “for the public’s interest”.