Lebanon’s FM: We must Embrace Syria without Awaiting Permission from Anyone

BEIRUT-The Lebanese Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil regretted the absence of Syria from the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit that kicked off in Beirut on Friday, describing it as the biggest gap, according to al-Manar TV website.

“We must embrace Syria instead of throwing it into the hands of terrorism, without awaiting a permission from anyone for its return” to the Arab League, said Bassil at the opening session of the summit’s at Beirut’s Phoenicia Hotel.

“Syria is the biggest gap in our conference today and we feel the heaviness of its absence,” he added.

Bassil also thanked every state that has attended, at any level, despite the bad circumstances surrounding the region and country.

“I thank you all because you are here and because you still believe in Lebanon and the Arab League despite the failure that is hitting us,” Bassil went on to say.

According to Sputnik, representatives of the Lebanese parliament said Friday both foreign pressure on Lebanon and the absence of a government in the country could be reasons for the majority of the Arab countries leaders' refusal to participate in the economic summit of the Arab League in Beirut.

"The low level of participation in the Beirut summit is part of the foreign pressure on Lebanon. There is no other explanation," Deputy Speaker of the Lebanese parliament Elie Ferzli told Sputnik.

Almost all heads of the Arab League countries except the presidents of Iraq and Mauritania, refused to participate in the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Beirut.

At the same time, Mohammad Khawaja, the member of parliament representing the Amal movement, a Lebanese political party, said that the low level of participation was foreseeable, primarily due to the absence of a government in Lebanon and Syria's refusal to attend the summit.

"Due to these reasons, we suggested to postpone the summit for two months until the government is formed and after Syria's readmission to the organization," Khawaja said.