Aoun Rejects Hizbullah's Fighting in Syria: Some Local Powers Obstructed My Visit to Saudi Arabia

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun stated that Hizbullah's involvement in the fighting in Syria was an “individual initiative” that the party undertook, reported the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat on Saturday.

He told the daily: “We oppose intervention outside Lebanese territories and no understanding was reached between us and the party over this issue.”

“The resistance's involvement in Syria is part of an understanding between the party and the Syrians,” he added.

“The situation in Syria is very dangerous and we want democracy to prevail there, but at the same time, we fear the rise of groups, like the Nusra Front, whose ascension to power will have a negative effect on Lebanon,” he said.

“Any impact on Lebanon will not only affect Christians, but Sunnis and Shiites, meaning all Lebanese people,” he stressed.

“We are trying to steer Lebanon away from conflict and we have so far succeeded thanks to the will of foreign countries that managed to influence local sentiments,” Aoun stated.

Commenting on efforts to form a new government, Aoun said: “I think we are capable of building a state in Lebanon without waiting for the end of the crisis inn Syria.”

Asked about his ties with Saudi Arabia, the MP replied: “There are no fundamental obstacles in our relationship, but some Lebanese political powers made it appear as if I oppose the kingdom.”

“Saudi Arabia helps maintain Lebanon's stability and it strengthens its army,” he noted.

The FPM leader revealed that he was seeking to visit Saudi Arabia in 2006, but it was delayed.

He accused some sides, that he chose to leave unnamed, of intervening in his efforts to head to the kingdom until it was postponed “and the invitation disappeared.”

He added that former Premier Saad Hariri was among his main opponents, saying that a number of officials tried to mediate to allow his travel to Saudi Arabia, but they failed.

On his ties with Hariri, he commented: “We had our differences in the past, but they were resolved when we resigned from his cabinet” in 2011.

“Lebanon is his home and he is a political leader with his political weight,” he remarked.

Asked if he would accept traveling to Saudi Arabia even if his allies opposed it, he responded: “My acceptance of the invitation is the main factor.”

“My freedom has not died yet and we have an understanding, not an alliance” with local powers, he explained.

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