BEIRUT: The UAE summoned Wednesday Lebanon’s ambassador to protest “hateful remarks” made by Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah regarding Bahrain in a speech last week, UAE’s state-run agency, WAM, said.
Assistant Foreign Minister for International Organization Affairs Tariq Ahmed al-Hidan expressed UAE’s condemnation to Lebanese envoy Hasan Youssef Saad over “these hostile, inflammatory, and hateful remarks,” WAM said.
The move came two days after Bahrain summoned Lebanon’s chargé d’affaires over the same “hostile statements” in which Nasrallah denounced Bahrain’s crackdown on its protest movement and arrest of its main opposition leader.
The UAE considered Nasrallah’s comments “a blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain, inciting violence and terrorism with the aim to destabilize the security and stability of that country,” the statement said.
“The UAE holds the Lebanese government fully responsible for these statements, and demands it to issue a clear statement condemning and denouncing such hostile remarks,” WAM quoted al-Hidan as telling Saad.
Al-Hidan also urged the Lebanese government to take deterrent legal action “to ensure that such acts will not be repeated,” WAM added.
In a televised speech Friday, Nasrallah denounced Bahrain’s Dec. 28 arrest of Sheikh Ali Salman, head of the al-Wefaq Islamic Society, the country’s main political opposition group.
Salman was arrested after leading a protest against elections in November which his party boycotted, and subsequently charged with inciting a change of government by force, inciting hatred, inciting others to break the law and publicly insulting the Interior Ministry.
“The arrest implies that the Bahraini authorities have reached a dead end, and that all its attempts [to quell protests] have failed,” Nasrallah said in his speech.
“The people of Bahrain are calling for rights, and legitimate rights that no one can deny,” Nasrallah said. “The most basic of the rights include a parliament that the people elect and not a parliament half of whose members are appointed.”
The Hezbollah chief also likened the situation in Bahrain to that in Palestine, saying that the country’s native population is being marginalized by an influx of foreigners into the country.
He noted that authorities are naturalizing Sunnis from across the region to change the country’s majority-Shiite demographic, who form the bulk of the opposition.