Lebanese Official Calls His Country World’s “No. 1 Terrorist″
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Calling Lebanon ″the No. 1 terrorist country,″ Parliament Speaker Hussein Husseini on Wednesday denounced the kidnapping of foreigners.
Husseini, Lebanon’s highest-ranking Shiite Moslem government official, said: ″The current crisis of foreign hostages in Lebanon has definitely made Lebanon the No. 1 terrorist country. Lebanon is the first victim of this all.″
He commented in English after meeting two U.S. Moslem envoys seeking the release of 17 foreigners kidnapped in Lebanon.
Mohammed Mehdi, secretary-general of the New York-based National Council for Islamic Affairs, and his deputy, Dale Shaheen, arrived Sunday hoping to win the release of at least one hostage before Christmas.
In addition to talks with Husseini and Sunni Moslem Prime Minister Rashid Karami, the two have met with Shiite clerics in Beirut and are planning a visit to the Bekaa Valley town of Baalbek to ″meet with people involved in the issue,″ Mehdi said.
Mehdi said the emissaries will travel to the Syrian capital of Damascus later this week for a meeting with Syrian Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam.
Syria, the main power broker in Lebanon, maintains 25,000 troops in the Bekaa and the northern Akkar valleys.
The 17 foreigners missing in Lebanon include six Americans, six Frenchmen, two Britons, an Italian, an Irishman and a South Korean.