Bassil: No One Asked Hariri to Visit Syria, Ties Not Severed

Caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil announced Monday that “no one has called on Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri to visit Syria,” in connection with the latest controversy on the issue of the Lebanese-Syrian ties.

“Ties with it are not severed but rather permanent and normally ongoing and Lebanon should seek its interest,” Bassil said in an interview with Russia's RT television.

“There is no reason to fabricate a crisis over the Lebanese-Syrian relations,” Bassil added.

Separately, Bassil, who held talks Monday in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, emphasized that “Russia is not interfering in Lebanon's internal affairs.”

“It is concerned with the stability of the region which is based on fighting terrorism,” the minister added.

Hariri has recently announced that the new government “will not be formed” should the pro-Damascus camp “insist on restoring Lebanese-Syrian ties.”

“If others insist on restoring Lebanese-Syrian ties from the gateway of the reopened Nassib border crossing, then the government will not be formed,” Hariri said in a chat with reporters, referring to a key border crossing on the Syrian-Jordanian border that has been recently recaptured by Damascus.

“I do not agree to a restoration of Lebanese-Syrian ties and this is nonnegotiable,” Hariri added.

Pro-Hizbullah journalist Salem Zahran has meanwhile claimed that the PM-designate has told Hizbullah that his remarks on Syria were a “slip of the tongue.”

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