CAIRO (Reuters) - President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said that Egypt is not considering taking any measures against Hezbollah despite Saudi Arabia’s call for sanctions against the Lebanese Shi’ite political and military group.
Saudi Arabia, main backer of Egypt, has said Hezbollah should be disarmed and kept out of the Lebanese government.
“The subject is not about taking on or not taking on, the subject is about the status of the fragile stability in the region in light of the unrest facing the region,” Sisi told CNBC in an interview when asked if Egypt would consider its own measures against Hezbollah.
“The region cannot support more turmoil,” he said.
Riyadh blames Hezbollah for the resignation of Lebanon’s preeminent Sunni politician, accusing it of hijacking Lebanese politics. But Saudi Arabia is also criticized Lebanon as a whole, saying it too has declared war on the kingdom.
The resignation on Saturday of Saudi-allied Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri, announced from Riyadh and blamed on Iran and Hezbollah, is seen by many as the first step in a Saudi intervention in Lebanese politics.
Sisi told Lebanon’s speaker of parliament on Sunday Egypt is opposed to any interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs.
“The president expressed Egypt’s interest in preserving security and stability in Lebanon ...and affirmed the importance of avoiding all forms of sectarian and religious tensions or violence, and its opposition to attempted interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs,” Sisi’s office said in a statement after he met Speaker Nabih Berri in Cairo.
“It’s up to the Lebanese to reach the political settlement of their choice,” the statement said.
Sisi came to power when as military commander he led the overthrow of former President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 following mass protests. Saudi Arabia backed the move and subsequently showered Egypt with aid.
Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein, Editing by Angus MacSwan