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Tunisia says won't follow Persian Gulf Cooperation Council on Hezbollah

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows members of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah (AFP)

Tunisia says it will not follow a decision by the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council to list the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

The Tunisian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that Tunis will not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

Tunisia feels no need to adhere to the recent move by the council, the statement said.

It added that Tunisia’s endorsement of a declaration on Hezbollah at the end of a meeting of Arab interior ministers in the Tunisian capital on Thursday was only in line with a joint Arab action and Tunis does not see it as binding.

On March 2, the council, which comprises Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait, designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group. Interior ministers of several Arab nations, including Tunisia, also condemned what they called Hezbollah’s increasing engagement in terror activities in the Middle East.

Tunisian media said earlier on Friday that President Beji Caid Essebsi has also condemned the decision by the council. 

The website of the Al-Chourouk daily said Essebsi had ordered Foreign Minister Khamis al-Jehinawi to officially declare Tunisia’s stance regarding the move and correct the “mistake” by the country’s interior minister in approving the declaration on Hezbollah.

Saudi Arabia and its allies in the council have opposed Hezbollah’s presence in Syria and its assistance to the government of President Bashar al-Assad in the fight against Takfiri terrorists. Hezbollah says its aid to Assad is necessary to stop the spillover of violence into Lebanon.

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