Aljazeera's correspondent in Cairo has learnt that there were differences over the draft resolution forwarded by Lebanon on Monday calling for Arab support to stand up to the Security Council's demand that Syria withdraw its 20,000 troops from Lebanon.

In a rare public intervention in the affairs of a fellow Arab nation, Jordan's foreign minister joined the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in supporting the UN's demand for Syria to get out.

 

The Jordanian delegation opposed the Lebanese draft resolution, considering it defiance of an international resolution and stating that any special cooperation between Lebanon and Syria might erode Arab credibility in dealing with international resolutions.

 

Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muashir said selectivity in complying with Security Council resolutions is "very dangerous and a precedent" best avoided.

On a visit to Cairo on Monday, Muashir added: "There is no room for opposing a Security Council resolution, regardless of how much we agree or disagree with it, so that we don't open a door for others to oppose decisions that concern us."

Ministers of all six GCC countries - a loose political and economic alliance comprising Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman - meeting in Jeddah, also said international resolutions must be followed.

"The Council supports internationally legitimate resolutions, and [that includes] the last decision issued by the Security Council, calling for the withdrawal of all forces from Lebanon," said Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Shaikh Muhammad Al Sabah, head of the GCC's Council of Ministers.

Lahud resists

But Lebanon's Syrian-backed President Emile Lahud resisted the call, saying Syrian troops were necessary.

He said troops should not leave until Israel complies with past Security Council resolutions on withdrawing to 1967 pre-war borders and allowing the return of Palestinian refugees.

"Lebanon considers the Syrian military presence on its territory a legitimate factor which helps in reinforcing stability in the region"

Emile Lahud,
Lebanese president

"Until that happens, Lebanon considers the Syrian military presence on its territory a legitimate factor which helps in reinforcing stability in the region," Lahud said in Beirut on Monday.

Arab nations have long accused Israel of shirking its international obligations under UN Security Council resolutions calling for the return of Palestinian refugees and the restoration of 1967 pre-war borders.

As there was no consensus on the issue, it was decided that Arab foreign ministers would seek a suitable solution later.

 

The UN Security Council narrowly passed a resolution on 2 September that demanded the withdrawal of foreign forces - without naming Syria - from Lebanon and the holding of presidential elections in the country.

The Arab ministers did not remark on the call for elections.

Syria, which wields enormous influence over Lebanese politics, has 20,000 troops in its much smaller neighbour. It also recently backed amending Lebanon's constitution to allow Lahud to extend his term for another three years.

Meanwhile, differences were also seen over a draft resolution presented by Iraq calling on Arab countries to support the Iraqi National Council and to recognise the interim Iraqi government.

 

Syria opposed the Iraqi draft resolution while Jordan supported it, so the matter was to be referred to an Arab Troika Committee that was formed during the Tunis summit, Aljazeera's correspondent said.