Lebanon refuses to help U.S.
SPECIAL TO WORLD
Monday, September 23, 2001
NICOSIA — Lebanon has ruled out helping the United States in the fight against terrorism.
Lebanese officials said the government in Beirut has agreed that it will not relay information on those living in the country. In addition, the officials said, Beirut will not extradite Lebanese residents believed by the United States to be involved in terrorism.
The United States has asked the Lebanese government to hand over at least 40 suspected terrorists, many of them from the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah group, Lebanese sources said. The Al Muharer weekly said one name is Imad Mughniyeh, said to have been responsible for the 1984 kidnapping and death of CIA station chief William Buckley.
"Our position is that there is absolutely no way that we could agree on considering the resistance and those who resisted Israel as terrorists," Lebanese Information Minister Ghazi Aridi said. "I hope the United States and others would consider this Lebanese position."
Aridi told Lebanese television on Saturday that so far the United States has not submitted a list of names to Beirut. Other Lebanese officials said Washington has not threatened to attack insurgency bases in Lebanon. Hizbullah spiritual leader Sheik Mohammed Fadlallah also ruled out Lebanese support to the United States. Fadlallah said Washington wants to use any campaign against Bin Laden as a pretext to attack the Palestinians.
"Why should we be asked
to support the United States, which extends unlimited support for
Israel's war of annihilation against the Palestinians and makes
no effort to save the Palestinians from Israeli terrorism?"