Bahrain foreign minister says Lebanon under 'total control' of Hizballah
Bahrain's foreign minister alleged on Sunday that Lebanon under the "total control" of Hizballah, in a speech at an Arab League meeting called by Saudi Arabia.
Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa called on countries such as Lebanon "where Hizballah is a partner in government to carry their responsibility", referring to the group as "terrorists".
"The Lebanese Republic, in spite of our relations with it as a brotherly Arab nation... is under the total control of this terrorist party," said Khalifa, referring to the powerful Iranian-backed movement.
"Iran's biggest arm in the region at the moment is the terrorist Hizballah arm," Sheikh Khalid charged.
Saudi Arabia called the meeting of foreign ministers at the League's headquarters in Cairo to discuss "violations" committed by Iran after a missile was intercepted near Riyadh in a 4 November attack claimed by Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Earlier, Lebanon Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil announced he would not be attending the meeting called by Riyadh.
"This morning, a decision was taken that Lebanon would be presented by Antoine Azzam, the permanent representative to the Arab League," a Lebanese foreign ministry source said.
Lebanon's political class has been split for more than a decade between the Iranian-backed Hizballah movement and its allies and a Saudi-supported coalition led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Hariri, a dual Saudi citizen who has previously enjoyed Riyadh's backing, announced his shock resignation on 4 November in a televised address from the kingdom.
The shock announcement sparked fears that Lebanon was being caught up in rising tensions between regional arch-rivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran.