Hariri Concerned Over US Turkey Israel Axis

BEIRUT (Reuter)–Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri–in an apparent reference to a proposal for US-Turkish-Israeli war games–said Thursday no military maneuvers would stop Lebanon seeking the return of its territory occupied by Israel.

"We are acquainted with what we hear about military or political maneuvers. We will continue to insist on our right to have our land back," Hariri said in a speech at the opening of the pan-Arab Golf tournament in Beirut.

"I want the Lebanese people not to be taken by these political games nor by the military maneuvers–these things may try to play with our nerves but we will stand firm in our positions," Hariri said.

He appeared to be referring to talks this week between Turkish Deputy Chief of Staff General Cevik Bir and Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai. Bir discussed joint naval exercises with Israel and the United States.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Faris Bouez also said in a statement published on Thursday that Lebanon was deeply concerned with the US-Turkish-Israeli alliance.

"We can not separate this from what is being said about a political-military encirclement or a political-military alliance aimed at encircling the positions of some Arabic countries," the leftist As-Safir newspaper quoted Bouez as saying.

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