BEIRUT: The Arab League classified Friday Hezbollah as a "terrorist organization," following in the footsteps of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which recently took aim at the Lebanese party, a staunch ally of Iran, over its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
"The resolution adopted by the League of Arab States includes labeling Hezbollah as a terrorist [organization]... there was consensus over the resolution with Lebanon and Iraq expressing their reservation...," said Wahid Mubarak Siyar, Under Secretary of the Bahraini Foreign Ministry, after the meeting of Arab foreign ministers.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who attended the meeting in Cairo expressed reservation over the classification of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization but stopped short of rejecting the Arab League statement in its entirety.
"Hezbollah enjoys wide representation and is an integral faction of the Lebanese community," Bassil argued at the conference.
Earlier in the day, Saudi Arabia's delegation withdrew from the Arab League meeting after Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari expressed solidarity with Hezbollah.
"The Popular Mobilization Forces and Hezbollah have preserved Arab dignity and whoever accuses them of being terrorists is a terrorist," Jaafari said in his speech.
The GCC classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization on March 2, weeks after Saudi Arabia announced that it was reassessing its ties with Lebanon, arguing that "Hezbollah became in control of Lebanon's political will."
"States of the Gulf Cooperation Council have decided to consider Hezbollah's militias including all its leaders, factions and sub-entities as a terrorist organization," a statement released by the GCC said.
GCC secretary-general Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani said that member states have come to this conclusion as a result of Hezbollah's attempts to undermine and destabilize GCC states by meddling in their internal affairs.
"[Hezbollah] members' continued hostile acts in terms of recruiting youths in GCC countries to carry out terrorist acts, smuggle weapons and explosives... are in flagrant violation of the sovereignty, security and stability of [GCC countries]," Zayani said.
The GCC countries also warned that "Hezbollah's militia practices... in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq are in violation of ethical and humanitarian standards as well as international law, and pose a threat to Arab national security."
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