Salam Tasks Mashnouq Instead of Bassil at Islamic Summit

Prime Minister Tammam Salam has tasked Agriculture Minister Mohammed al-Mashnouq instead of Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil to represent him at the Extraordinary Islamic Summit on Palestine end of this week, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday.

“The invitation has been addressed to Salam and he is free to assign any of the ministers,” sources at the Grand Serail told the daily.

They denied claims that Salam has deliberately excluded Bassil from the event against the backdrop of his latest positions that drew dispute in the Arab Foreign Ministers and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation meetings.

The 5th Extraordinary Islamic Summit on Palestine and al-Quds al-Shareef will be held in Jakarta on Sunday and Monday.

Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry abstained from voting on a statement of Organization of Islamic Cooperation that condemned Iran, in what was described as “in line with Lebanon’s dissociation policy.”

The OIC statement followed an extraordinary meeting that was requested by Saudi Arabia after protesters in Iran in early January set fire to the embassy in Tehran and a consulate in the second city of Mashhad.

The Foreign Ministry’s stance drew controversy and even led to a series reactions from Gulf states that included halting a $4 billion Saudi aid to the Lebanese army and military forces, and travel warnings to Lebanon.