Hariri Hits Back at Aoun, Urges Hizbullah to Withdraw from Syria

Head of the Mustaqbal Movement MP Saad Hariri on Tuesday snapped back at Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun over the latter's remarks on guaranteeing the “political security” of the former premier if he returns to Lebanon.

“I don't need any political security when I decide to return to Lebanon as God protects everyone. General Aoun may have clarified what he meant but despite that his statement was inappropriate and should not be said to Saad Hariri or to any other Lebanese politician,” Hariri said in response to a reporter's question after meeting ex-president Michel Suleiman in Paris.

“We have a path and we will continue it and it is based on Lebanon's unity and the interest of Lebanon which must come before anything else,” Hariri added.

On June 17, Aoun said he is waiting for al-Mustaqbal movement to nominate him or endorse someone other than Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea for the presidency, revealing that he had told Hariri that he would guarantee his “political security” if he returns to Lebanon.

“I told him that I can guarantee his political security if he returns to Lebanon but noted that I cannot guarantee it if I'm not in power,” Aoun said during a TV interview.

On the issue of the stalled presidential election, Hariri said blocking the election of a new president is “a crime against the Lebanese.”

“As a political movement, our stance is clear on the need for an inter-Christian dialogue so that viewpoints can be reconciled and a consensus becomes possible, especially that this post is for all Lebanese, but it is also a Christian post,” Hariri said of the country's top post.

“We call on everyone to truly think of Lebanon's interest, the Christians' interest in the Levant and the presidency's interest,” Hariri added.

Asked about the latest bombings in Lebanon, the ex-PM described them as “a cowardly act by some groups who do not want the state in Lebanon,” urging the government and security forces to exert “serious” efforts to put an end to the renewed wave of attacks.

Hariri also called on Hizbullah to “withdraw from Syria and spare Lebanese these tragedies that we are witnessing.”

“The fire will reach us if some parties are interfering in the Syrian or Iraqi affairs,” Hariri warned.

One person was killed and at least 20 wounded when a suicide bomber detonated himself near an army checkpoint and a cafe in Tayyouneh at the entrance of Beirut's southern suburbs in the early hours of Tuesday.

The car bombing came three days after a suicide attack in the east of the country which left one person dead and 30 wounded. That attack was the first in Lebanon since March.

Earlier on Tuesday, Hariri held talks in Paris with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

The talks tackled the latest developments in Lebanon and the region, said the former premier's press office in a statement.

The meeting was attended by French Ambassador to Lebanon Patrice Paoli.


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