Hariri Says Exerting All Efforts to End Baabda Vacuum

Al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri reiterated on Monday that he was trying hard to push for the election of a new president in Lebanon.

In an interview with the French daily Le Figaro, Hariri said: “Lebanon's coexistence … is menaced by the paralysis of institutions amid a presidential vacuum.”

“We hold onto the election of the Christian” head of state, the lawmaker said.

“We are exerting all efforts to put an end to the vacuum,” at Baabda Palace, Hariri added.

President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended in May amid the failure of parliament to elect a successor over differences on a compromise candidate.

Hariri is expected to discuss the presidential deadlock with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi in Rome on Monday.

In his interview with Le Figaro, the former prime minister slammed Hizbullah for its meddling in Syria's war.

He said the Shiite party sent its fighters to help President Bashar Assad's troops without getting the go-ahead from the Lebanese state.

Hizbullah claims that its members are fighting in Syria to stop the terrorists there from reaching Lebanon. But the same jihadist groups are taking Hizbullah's role in the neighboring country as a pretext to bring the battle to Lebanon, Hariri added.

Talking with his interviewer about the burden of around 1.5 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Hariri said: “No single country can confront such immense proportions.”

“It's the same as France welcoming 20 million refugees in three years,” he said.

Hariri appealed for more assistance from the international community to help Lebanon meet the burden of the displaced and support the army in its fight against terrorists.

Jihadists from al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State group overran the northeastern border town of Arsal in August and engaged in bloody battles with the army.

They also took with them soldiers and police as hostages and later executed three of them.

Since then, the military has intensified raids across Lebanon and has arrested dozens of Lebanese and foreign nationals suspected of involvement in terrorist activities.

Asked about a $3 billion Saudi grant to Lebanon to purchase weapons from France, Hariri said the issue was up to Riyadh and Paris to resolve.

He said he believed that the deal was on the right track and would be signed soon.

Hariri reiterated that the IS was a “terrorist group committing barbaric acts in the name of Islam.”

“The absolute majority of Muslims are moderates,” he stressed. But said that their “political representatives should be given credibility.”



Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved.