Zahid: I’ve met with Israeli PM

(Bernama) – Malaysian Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed yesterday that he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in France last month and explained Malaysia’s stand on the West Asian issue.

Stressing that it was at Netanyahu’s request, he said the Israeli leader had agreed to the conditions that he (Zahid) had insisted on prior to the meeting, which was held during the Paris Air Show.

“I said that if he wanted to have a meeting with me, he should not bring along any Israeli aide or photographer and he should not indulge in double standards, and he agreed,” Dr Ahmad Zahid told Malaysian reporters here. He is on a six-day visit to Lebanon.

Zahid said that at their meeting of 35 minutes, he stated that if Israel was sincere about establishing peace in West Asia, it should recognise the Palestinian government.

“If Israel wants to extend a hand to establish peace, it must not resort to violence against the people of Palestine and neighbouring countries,” he said.

Zahid said Malaysia always stood by countries such as Lebanon, Syria and Palestine in their attempts to stop the Israeli atrocities.

He also said that Lebanon has listed Malaysia as a supplier for its military modernisation programme next year.

Lebanese Defence Minister Elias Al-Murr made the commitment when Zahid made a courtesy call at his residence here today.

“Military assets (weapons and logistics) produced by Malaysia have been tested and found suitable for use by the Lebanese Armed Forces as they suit the climate here,” he told Malaysian reporters here today.

Zahid said he would study the country’s capability in supplying military equipments to Lebanon and ask the defence industry to be prepared.

Lebanon has been promised aid by alliance countries aimed at modernising its military assets, but not for war.

He added the sale of equipment to Lebanon would not be a problem for Malaysia as it only involved ordinary military equipment, not offensive weapons.

Zahid is in Lebanon to give moral support to over 340 Malaysian peacekeepers serving with Malcon West 2 under the United Nations (UN) flag to ensure peace at the Lebanon-Israel border.