Hariri Replies to Bassil’s Syria Remarks
Prime Minister Saad Hariri replied on Monday to the controversial remarks of Free Patriotic Movement leader and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil about his intention to visit Syria in order “to repatriate the Syrian refugees.”
Hariri said the 2005 martyrdom of his slain father, ex-PM Rafik Hariri was what made possible the ousting of the Syrian army from Lebanon.
“The blood of PM Rafik Hariri made the return of the Syrian army to Syria possible,” Hariri’s press office said in a statement.
“If the Free Patriotic Movement leader wants to go to Syria to discuss the return of Syrian refugees, that’s his business...the outcome is what matters, and the Syrian regime must not take this visit as a pretext to return to Lebanon because we do not trust the regimes’ intentions regarding the refugees’ return,” the statement added.
“Lebanon has enough debates to worry about, my main concern is how to stop the economic crisis. If not, the table will alone turn against everyone's heads,” said the statement quoting the PM.
On Sunday, Bassil told an FPM rally that he plans to visit Syria to “secure the return of Syrian refugees.” A position highly defied by several parties in Lebanon including al-Mustaqbal Movement of Hariri, the Lebanese Forces and Progressive Socialist Party who defy normalization of ties with Syria.
Moreover, at the Arab League, Bassil called for ending the suspension of Syria’s membership of the Arab League. His position has drawn disapproving responses from parties that oppose normalizing ties with the Syrian regime.