Lebanon was among 141 nations that voted in favor of a U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday, as five countries rejected it and 35 nations chose to abstain.
“The time has come to stop the Russian war machine and launch dialogue and a diplomatic and peaceful solution,” Lebanese diplomatic sources told the Nidaa al-Watan newspaper in remarks published Thursday.
“Lebanon took the sound and natural stance by rejecting war, in harmony with its identity and nature, and it stood by its Arab brothers, international friends and European partners in confronting the Russian war on Ukraine,” the sources added.
Voicing surprise that “any party would ask the Lebanese state to have a stance different than the one it has taken,” the sources wondered if Lebanon’s interest lies in “encouraging military attacks and invasions.”
“If we do this, who will stand by us should Israel re-invade our territory?” the sources asked.
Prior to the U.N. vote, President Michel Aoun had held a meeting in Baabda with Prime Minister Najib Miqati and Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, in which the conferees decided to maintain the stance that Lebanon had announced on February 24, the daily said.
In a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on that day, Lebanon had condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and called on it to “immediately” withdraw its forces.
Lebanon’s decision to vote in favor of the resolution also came after U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland held phone talks with President Aoun which tackled the war in Ukraine.
“Washington did not conceal its desire that Lebanon maintain its previous stance as expressed by its Foreign Ministry, and to implement it practically by voting in favor of condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the U.N. General Assembly,” Nidaa al-Watan quoted informed sources as saying.
Nuland warned that Lebanon would be risking “to waste all the efforts that the United States is exerting to assist Lebanon in the various fields, whether in the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, the importation of Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity, or the file of demarcating the sea border with Israel,” the sources added.
Only five nations voted against the U.N. resolution – Russia, Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea. China, India, Iran, Iraq and Algeria were meanwhile among 35 nations that abstained from voting.