(Hurriyet) - Tension over Israel's attacks on Lebanon over the past week spilled over yesterday into a reception given in honor of Egypt's National Day. When the Lebanese Ambassador to Ankara, George Siam, discovered that the Egyptian Ambassador to Ankara, Omer Metwally, had invited the Israeli Ambassador to Ankara, Pinhas Avivi, to the reception, he made a brief statement to the press, and then left the reception early with his wife.
It was also noted that the Iraqi Ambassador to Ankara, Sabah Umran, left the reception briefly after Siam's abrupt departure, reports Trend.
Earlier in the evening, Avivi had arrived at the reception before Siam.
Egyptian Ambassador Metwally and Ambassador Siam had spent a long time in friendly discussion after the latter's later arrival. While Metwally and Siam were talking, Ambassador Avivi was talking to reporters, making statements that placed blame for the current tensions on Hizbullah, Iran, and Syria. When Siam spotted Avivi, he made the following statement to reporters: "I am leaving this reception in my capacity as the Lebanese Ambassador. Because I cannot accept the hypocrisy inherent in an invitation to Israel, which has destroyed my peaceful country, to a reception in honor of an Arab nation. I cannot accept this hyprocrisy. On the one hand, Israel kills civilians, while on the other hand, it attends a reception for an Arab country. I cannot be under the same roof as the Israeli Ambassador. My protest is personal." Egyptian Ambassador Metwally for his part said that Ambassador Pinhas had been invited because Egypt had normal diplomatic relations with Israel, but noted that he could understand Ambassador Siam's reaction.