Geagea slams Hezbollah over anti-Saudi remarks

Lebanese politician Samir Geagea indirectly called for punishing Hezbollah over hostile stance towards Saudi Arabia

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Lebanese politician Samir Geagea urged his government on Saturday to punish “armed parties” in Lebanon involved in insulting “brotherly” Arab states, in remarks seen as an indirect reference to the powerful militant group Hezbollah.

Geagea, leader of the Christian party Lebanese Forces, urged Saudi Arabia to reconsider its suspension of a $3 billion aid package to the Lebanese army.

In a televised speech, he indirectly called for punishing Hezbollah over a stance that expressed a deepening hostility towards Saudi Arabia.

“The Lebanese law forbids any internal party of offending brotherly Arab states,” said Geagea in a reference to Hezbollah, adding that the group should be punished per the law.

Geagea’s statements followed a Saudi decision on Friday to halt an aid package to the Lebanese military to buy French arms.

The surprise move prompted Lebanon’s Prime Minister Tammam Salam to call on Saudi leaders to reconsider the decision.

“We express our deep appreciation for King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his brothers in the Saudi leadership ... and we hope for a reconsideration of the decision to halt the aid for our army and security forces,” he said in a statement.

The Saudi state news agency said earlier on Friday that Riyadh was suspending the package pledged in 2013, with an official saying it was a response to Beirut’s failure to condemn attacks on the kingdom’s missions in Iran.

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