President Michel Suleiman stated on Friday that the Lebanese authorities “are in charge of preventing gunmen from sneaking into Syrian territories”, reiterating the cabinet’s disassociation policy towards the neighboring country’s conflict.
“The army is responsible for prohibiting any violations of the Baabda Declaration on the border with Syria,” Suleiman said in a joint press conference with Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara.
On Thursday, Syria warned that its forces would fire into Lebanon if “terrorist gangs” continued to infiltrate the country, in a letter of protest to Lebanon.
“Syrian forces are showing restraint by not striking these gangs inside Lebanese territory to prevent them from crossing into Syria, but this will not go on indefinitely,” the Syrian foreign ministry said in the letter carried by Syria’s news agency SANA, urging Lebanon to take action.
Violence from Syria has however spilled over into Lebanese border areas with villages in those regions coming under shelling of regime forces.
The Baabda Declaration, approved in June 2012, stipulates that Lebanon should commit to the policy of disassociation to avoid the spread of the unrest in Syria to Lebanese territory.
Commenting on the security situation in Africa, Suleiman stressed on the importance of “facing terrorist threats and of strengthening peace efforts to avoid the extension of the conflicts of Western Africa into the Ivory Coast”.
Separately, the Lebanese president and his Ivory Coast counterpart agreed to increase cooperation and share expertise in different fields “to serve the best interest of both countries”.
Suleiman was in Senegal for a two-day visit before heading to the Ivory Coast on Thursday.
He also participated in the Lebanese-Ivorian economic forum on Thursday.
The president launched his African tour on Tuesday by visiting Algeria.