Bassil has reportedly met with Franjieh and Mikati


Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil has recently met with Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh and caretaker PM Najib Mikati despite the political campaigns he has waged against them in recent weeks, a media report said on Monday.

“Bassil did not hesitate to fulfill the request of a common friend by meeting his invitation to have lunch with Mikati at his banquet and later to meet with Franjieh,” Asharq al-Awsat newspaper quoted a political source as saying.

The source identified the common friend as a businessman who had previously sponsored similar meetings.

“Bassil met with Mikati on December 15, on the eve of the consultative ministerial meeting that he (the caretaker PM) hosted the next day at the Grand Serail,” the source said.

If confirmed, the meeting between Franjieh and Bassil would be the first between them since the iftar banquet that they attended in Ramadan at an invitation from Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, prior to the May 15 parliamentary elections.

According to the report, the Mikati-Bassil meeting ended without positive results and the dispute between them over the powers of the caretaker cabinet has continued.

Bassil’s meeting with Franjieh was meanwhile limited to “exchanging views over a number of issues” without tackling the presidential file.

“It was Franjieh who suggested keeping the presidential elections file out of the agenda of the meeting that gathered him with Bassil, because he does not intend to take unilateral steps after having entrusted Nasrallah with coordinating with Speaker Nabih Berri over the presidential file,” the source added.

Bassil had confirmed Sunday upon leaving the Christmas Day mass in Bkirki that he has been “making a lot of meetings” that the press is not knowing about.

“You have busted us with only a few ones,” Bassil told reporters.

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