Foreign Office removes envoy's Hizbollah blog

By Jennifer Lipman, July 12, 2010
Ambassador Frances Guy described Sheikh Fadlallah as her “favourite politician”

Ambassador Frances Guy described Sheikh Fadlallah as her “favourite politician”

The Foreign Office has removed a blogpost by the British ambassador to Lebanon after she wrote of her admiration for a Hizbollah leader who praised suicide bombers and was labelled a terrorist by the United States.

But despite international outcry about the post, in which Ambassador Frances Guy described Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah as her “favourite politician”, she has not been recalled as ambassador.

Ms Guy made the comments in an obituary for the Shia cleric, believed to be Hizbollah’s spiritual leader, who died earlier in July.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said Ms Guy’s post had been taken down “after mature consideration”.

He said: “The ambassador expressed a personal view on Sheik Sayyed Fadlallah, describing the man as she knew him. The blog did not fully reflect HMG policy.

“We regard this matter as closed.”

Sheikh Fadlallah had publicly called for war against Israel and the West, and during the civil war in Lebanon supported the bombing of the US embassy in 1983 where 260 Americans died.

He said after the attack: “"When one fires a bullet at you, you cannot offer him roses.”

But Ms Guy wrote that Lebanon was a “lesser place” without him and added: “You knew you would leave his presence feeling a better person.

She has since written that it was not her intention to upset people.

In a post entitled “The problem with diplomatic blogging” she wrote: “I have no truck with terrorism”.

Ms Guy’s comments followed similarly controversial remarks about Sheikh Fadlallah made on Twitter by a Lebanese-American journalist, Octavia Nasr, which led to her losing her job as CNN Middle East editor.

Last updated: 1:19pm, July 12 2010