Naharnet

Geagea Says Dialogue with Aoun Serious, Difficult: Hizbullah Engaged Lebanon in Turmoil

Lebanese Forces chief confirmed on Wednesday that talks with the Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun are serious, pointing that Hizbullah's involvement in the war raging in the neighboring country Syria has engaged Lebanon in turmoil.

“Dialogue between us and the FPM is very serious but the matter is not that easy. We have been at loggerheads for 30 years and it was not for simple or ridiculous reasons,” said Geagea in a press conference at Maarab following a postponed parliamentary session to elect a president.

“We were at conflict for fundamental reasons related to the nation and the priorities, but we have no personal enmity,” added Geagea.

Preparations are underway for a meeting between Aoun and Geagea to resolve points of contention between the old time rivalries.

LF chief lamented how Lebanon has been living without a president for more that 7 months now and said “seven months and half have passed and Lebanon is still without a president... the nation is politically paralyzed... some ministers are making efforts but that will lead to no avail without a president.”

“Boycotting sessions to elect a president is unacceptable,” he expressed.

Lebanon has been living in a presidential vacuum since May when the term of Michel Suleiman's ended. Conflict between the rival March 8 and March 14 alliances have prevented an agreement on a head of state.

On the efforts to hold meetings between the two parties, Geagea said “We want to vent the tension prevailing at this stage and to normalize relations between the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement.”

“We are trying to narrow the distance between the two parties. Yesterday we exchanged messages in a bid to normalize relations, put off tension and drop lawsuits, which all seriously serve the meeting,” he said adding that he has no problem on where the meeting will be held.

Geagea agreed on Aoun's latest statement saying “I agree with Aoun when he said that he wants the republic first and then the presidency. What Aoun said is very genuine and we agree.”

On the involvement of Hizbullah in the war in Syria, Geagea said: “the presence of Hizbullah in Syria and its involvement in the battle has engaged Lebanon in turmoil.”

“We cannot tolerate the burden of Syrian refugees and I support the government’s measures to control their influx.”

Hizbullah sent fighters to Syria to back President Assad's forces against rebels trying to remove him from power. The armed intervention in Syria earned the group the enmity of Syria's predominantly Sunni rebels. Assad is a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

However, Hizbullah's involvement in Syria had drawn the ire of many in Lebanon.

D.A.

H.K.


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