Bassil Denies he Evaded Talks with Kerry during Beirut Visitإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil has denied that he avoided to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to Beirut on Wednesday, saying he could not cancel his trip to China, which is a major investing country.
In an interview with al-Joumhouria newspaper published on Friday, Bassil said: “We were informed about Kerry's visit only 48 hours before” his arrival to Beirut.
“I had a prior engagement in China for a specific conference and the date of my meeting with the Chinese foreign minister had already been set,” Bassil said.
“I couldn't have canceled my visit or changed the date that had been set by a major power such as China, which is interested in investing in Lebanon,” he told the daily.
“Everybody knows about the Chinese state's capabilities in investments,” Bassil added.
The foreign minister attended the sixth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing, an event underscoring China's burgeoning ties with the region.
Bassil's denial came as al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Friday that the FM rejected a proposal made by Kerry for the two officials to meet at Rafik Hariri International Airport.
Diplomatic sources told the daily that Kerry's suggestion came over lack of time caused by his lightning visit to Beirut.
But Bassil took it as a “protocol humiliation” and preferred not to discuss the presidential elections crisis with Kerry, the sources said.
They added that the foreign minister would have been embarrassed had Kerry mentioned the candidacy of Free Patriotic Movement chief Michel Aoun, Bassil's father-in-law.
Aoun has never announced his candidacy, saying he would do so only if there was consensus on him as a compromise president.
Lebanon plunged in a presidential deadlock after Michel Suleiman left Baabda Palace on May 25 following the end of his six-year tenure and the failure of parliament to elect a predecessor over differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances.
Meanwhile, the National News Agency quoted Bassil as saying at the end of his talks in China that he discussed with officials in Beijing ways to consolidate economic ties and find more diverse chances for Chinese investments in Lebanon to create employment opportunities.
He said he asked for financial assistance to build the new foreign ministry building, and to help Lebanon confront terrorism by providing it with military aid and overcome the burden of the Syrian refugees.
A great deal with X-Box one will be made, all thanks to Bassil alone.
God bless General Aoun for his staunch patriotism, defense of democracy, and opposition to February 14-sponsored Saudi-fication of Lebanon.
Get real when was Aoun a defender of democracy or a patriot> He is nothing but a lunatic bent on becoming president even at the expense of destroying what is left of Lebanon
Bassil didn't eat his kelloggs cereals in the morning, so his papa in law didn't allow him to leave the house.
China gives him money while Kerry just lip service . May this cleptocrat rot in jail .
Intelligent man! He could have remained silent but instead he sent a message to the U.S. That China is ever present.
Lol at RFT flea aka iceman aka Kate the blow up doll but truly the GIMP
Ya Haram, yalla bring in Chinese, Iranian and North Korean investments to Lebanon ! Just what we need !
You know what comes with Chinese investments ? BRIBES to officials.
Gerban Barteel is the Metternich of the Lebanon.
He is the greatest diplomat ever like he was the greatest minister of energy ever on planet earth. His accomplishments are talked about on Mars, Jupiter and Dahie.
We are so unlucky to have him!
Blame me it's my fault, favorite SIL and heir apparent Gebran, or Justin what I like to call him because he's Justin Bassil Just imbecile, was playing on the swings in the backyard with the other children when I got the call that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in town an if favorite SIL wanted to meet him and maybe get an autograph, so I shouted through the kitchen window "DO YOU WANT TO MEET KERRY" but favorite SIL understood "DO YOU WANT TO EAT CURRY" and we all know Indian food make favorite SIL gassy. So naturally favorite SIL said and I quote Nah, and continued playing on the swings with the other children. Later when favorite SIL came in he asked about the curry I explained it's Kerry not curry, favorite SIL ran to his room slammed the door and cried and cried and cried, favorite SIL really wanted that autograph.