Hariri Says Dialogue with Hizbullah to Continue, Urges Franjieh to Attend Electoral Session

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Former premier Saad Hariri announced Tuesday that the Hizbullah-Mustaqbal bilateral dialogue “will continue” despite the recent tensions in the country, as he called on Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh to attend Wednesday's presidential election session.

“We will attend tomorrow's presidential election session and I believe that the election of a president is the key to resolving all problems,” said Hariri after talks at the Grand Serail with Prime Minister Tammam Salam.

The MPs' “constitutional duty is to attend and not to boycott the sessions,” he noted.

Noting that it is up to Franjieh to decide on attending Wednesday's session, Hariri hoped the Marada leader will be present at the vote, humorously announcing that Mustaqbal “will attend for his sake.”

Asked about the fate of the faltering dialogue with Hizbullah in the wake of the tensions sparked by the row with Saudi Arabia, Hariri declared that it will “continue.”

“It is true that dialogue might face hurdles at a certain point but it would eventually reach a result if the objective is the country's interest,” said Hariri later on Tuesday during a meeting with Akkar mayors and municipal chiefs.

“I belong to Rafik Hariri's school and he used to talk to everyone during all circumstances and he did not sever ties with anyone,” the ex-PM added.

“When we engage in dialogue with Hizbullah, we say things as they are and we cling to our principles, and all of this is aimed at protecting Lebanon and national stability and preventing any party from taking the country to strife,” Hariri explained.

His announcement comes a day after he met with Speaker Nabih Berri, the dialogue's sponsor, in Ain al-Tineh.

Hariri also noted that he discussed Lebanon's protracting garbage crisis with Salam, stressing that the solutions “must meet the international standards and a solution must be found as soon as possible.”

Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014 when the term of Michel Suleiman ended and Hariri launched late in 2015 a proposal to nominate Franjieh for the presidency.

Hariri's initiative was however rejected by the country's main Christian parties as well as Hizbullah, and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea -- the ex-PM's ally in the March 14 camp -- has recently nominated Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun for the presidency in an apparent response to Hariri's move.


Comments 3
Thumb chrisrushlau 01 March 2016, 18:15

Does Hariri support Article 24 of the Lebanese Constitution which assigns half of Parliament's seats to Christian politicians? Is this "equality" as Patriarch al Rahi always says, or is it racism?

Thumb lubnani.masi7i 01 March 2016, 18:17

dialogue and more dialogue;) go retire already hariri

Missing humble 01 March 2016, 19:18

It is an obligation for all MP's to go to Parliament. Those who don't go are the ones who are destroying the country. Full Stop.