FPM, LF in War of Words over Syrian Refugees
A war of words erupted Friday between the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces over the thorny issue of the presence of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
“From the position of keenness on the FPM-LF reconciliation and on improving the agreement between us, we will not engage in debates and we do not find a need to remind the Lebanese of the FPM's advanced stances that reached the extent of being accused of xenophobia over the issue of the refugees, amid the negligence of others,” the FPM central media committee said in a statement.
“You better remain silent if you are involved in the issues of the refugees, Daesh, al-Nusra Front and many other files,” the statement added.
Ex-MP Fadi Karam of the LF hit back swiftly, accusing the FPM of being close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
“Your theory that normalization would return the refugees is like your theory that power generating ships would return electricity. For the sake of your interests you are sacrificing the people's interests, sovereignty and national unity,” Karam added.
LF bloc MP Wehbe Qatisha meanwhile said some are trying to “drag the Lebanese into normalization with a regime that has destroyed its country, killed its people and is preventing the return of the refugees whom it had displaced while it is still adamant on blowing Lebanon up.”
“A little patriotism and dignity in order to save your country,” he added.
Minister May Chidiac of the LF meanwhile said some parties are trying to “outsmart” the Lebanese.
“This will not happen, even if it costs our blood. Those who paid the price once for the sake of their country's dignity and freedom will not hesitate to offer everything to preserve their principles and their country's dignity,” Chidiac added, referring to calls for normalizing ties with Damascus.
“Repatriation cannot happen through bypassing Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim's initiatives and the rush of a minister, who does not enjoy his government's support, to coordinate with a regime that does not enjoy Arab and international legitimacy and is subject to sanctions,” Chidiac went on to say, referring to Minister Saleh al-Gharib's visit to Syria.
The LF had issued a statement reminding that the refugee crisis had erupted “when the FPM had a share of 10 ministers in Miqati's government” whereas the LF “was not in the government.”
“Accordingly, those overbidding today for populist and Assad-related considerations should have worked on organizing their entry into border camps and not in a chaotic manner as happened. They should have limited this influx in light of Lebanon's capacity, like all countries in the world are doing. Thus, the responsibility or original sin in this file falls on the shoulders of the FPM,” the LF said.
It also said that “the systematic campaign against the LF is the result of its opposition to the return of the Assad regime's influence and to normalization with the Syrian regime.”