Jumblat Says FPM Has 'Taken Over the State'
Political bickering intensified between Free Patriotic Movement chief, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil and Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat with the latter accusing the FPM of “taking power over the State,” al-Joumhouria daily reported Tuesday.
The conflict between the two expanded from the share of the Druze community in the new Cabinet, to the controversial issue of Syrian refugees’ return to their homeland, said the daily.
Jumblat believes the return of the majority of refugees is impossible under the so-called Decree No. 10 issued by the Syrian government, warning of the “traps that some are setting.”
Bassil recently said that political and economic life will soon be resumed between Lebanon and Syria.
The Urban Renewal Law, commonly known as Decree 10, allows the Syrian government to take private property to create zoned developments, compensating owners with shares of the new projects.
Under Decree 10, once Syria's government designates a development zone, authorities have one month to publicly notify landowners of the shares option.
Those with deeds in government registries automatically receive shares, but those without must prove ownership within 30 days.
On Bassil’s announcement on the “imminent resumption of political and economic life between Lebanon and Syria,” Jumblat has said “those who took this position are taking advantage of the circumstances that helped Bashar Assad regain Daraa, in order to return to the days of the past, and then ironically talk about sovereignty and independence.”
Asked whether he believes the upcoming Lebanese government should engage in dialogue with the Syrian government, Jumblat said: “The FPM is not waiting for the government to take such a step. It has long been sending ministers to Damascus each Monday. They have seized the Lebanese State.”
Relations between Lebanon and Syria had been strained, especially with the 29-year Syrian Occupation of Lebanon, accusations of Syrian intervention within Lebanese politics before and after withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, and suspicions of Syria assassinating Lebanese political figures like former prime minister Rafik Hariri.
Syria officially recognized Lebanon's sovereignty in 2008.