Salam: Lebanon in Defensive Not Offensive War against Terrorists

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Lebanon has been in a “defensive war” with jihadists because the country is unable to carry out attacks against them, Prime Minister Tammam Salam has said.

“Lebanon is part of the efforts exerted by the international (community) to fight terrorism,” Salam told An Nahar daily’s reporter in New York, where he is attending the U.N. General Assembly session.

But the PM stressed that Lebanon’s role in the fight against terrorists is “defensive” rather than offensive for lacking military capabilities.

He hailed a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that countries take action to stem the flow of foreign jihadists to Iraq and Syria.

“Lebanon is committed to (the resolution) without participating in offensive attacks,” Salam told An Nahar.

The resolution, which was unanimously approved by the 15-member council on Wednesday, requires all nations to adopt laws that would make it a serious crime for their nationals to join jihadist groups such as Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front.

The two jihadists group engaged in heavy gunbattles with the Lebanese army last month, when they overran the northeastern border town of Arsal.

They took with them hostages from the army and police, and executed three of them.

In all more than 50 nations have joined the U.S.-led coalition against IS, including key Arab states, and in recent days more countries have promised concrete military support.

“The difficult situation in Lebanon requires exceptional solutions,” Salam said.

It “cannot confront the big terrorist plot without an international support,” he added.

Salam’s remarks were published in An Nahar on Friday, when he is scheduled to address the General Assembly.

The prime minister stressed that regional and Western officials have expressed readiness to help Lebanon.

He also hailed the recently announced $1 billion Saudi grant to help the army confront terrorists and restore order in Lebanon.

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