Gulf states to agree action against Hezbollah members

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The Gulf Cooperation Council will hold a meeting in Riyadh next week to agree the mechanisms for imposing sanctions on members of Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, its head Abdullatif al-Zayani said.

The monarchies of the GCC decided on June 10 to impose sanctions on members of Hezbollah targeting their residency permits and their financial and business activities in reprisal for the Shiite group’s armed intervention in Syria.

Thursday’s meeting, in which deputy interior ministers from GCC member states will take part, would “develop the appropriate mechanisms for applying” the June 10 decision, Zayani said in comments quoted by official Saudi news agency SPA.

The sanctions would be implemented “in coordination... with ministers of commerce and the central banks of the GCC”, he added, without giving further details about the precise nature of the mechanisms.

The Gulf Cooperation Council is made up of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

Qatari authorities expelled 18 Lebanese citizens from the gas-rich Gulf state on June 20, a government source in Beirut told AFP.

An estimated 360,000 Lebanese work in the Gulf, according to Lebanese daily an-Nahar, transferring some $4 billion dollars (three billion euros) annually back to the country, which has a population of just 4.1 million.

A staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah has backed him since protests erupted in March 2011, openly declaring its military involvement in the war last month.

The Sunni monarchies of the Gulf, on the other hand, back the mostly Sunni rebels and the GCC has warned it might add Hezbollah to its list of terrorist groups.

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