Bassil criticizes Hezbollah as ties hang by 'fine thread'


Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil has criticized anew old FPM ally Hezbollah for opening a war on the southern border with Israel.

Bassil told Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai that Lebanon has enough problems, from a refugee crisis to an economic collapse and a presidential void.

"I don't see that these clashes have done any good to Lebanon," Bassil said. "If others accept this war as a fait accompli, we will not accept it."

Bassil wondered if this costly war would return the Israeli occupied Shebaa Farms to Lebanon, the Palestinian refugees to their land, or the Syrian refugees to Syria. "If it did or if it secured oil investments, I wouldn't have any problem."

"The problem is that Lebanon alone, of course in addition to Palestine, is bearing this hefty cost, with no benefits in return," he added.

Bassil blamed Hezbollah for opening fire without consulting with other Lebanese forces, and called for keeping Lebanon away from the region's problems, but said that he would nevertheless live with Hezbollah and share with the group the same land, tragedies and achievements. "I do not want Hezbollah to lose this war," he said.

The FPM chief also criticized Hezbollah and Amal for trying to impose a candidate on Christians who does not represent them. "We support holding consultations, and we are in fact in constant communication with all parties, sometimes away from the spotlight and other times publicly," he said. "We are in consultation with everyone."

Bassil said that the FPM-Hezbollah understanding is hanging by "a fine thread". "It doesn't mean it is fragile but the points of agreements are that little," he explained. "When it comes to protecting Lebanon, the relation with Hezbollah is very strong," he said.

On a separate note, Bassil said he does not support opening the seas for migrant boats to reach Europe, an idea floated by Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, amid soaring anti-Syrian sentiment and accusations the West is seeking to keep refugees in Lebanon.

The European Union had announced earlier this month $1 billion in aid to Lebanon to help tackle irregular migration, as Cyprus, the EU's easternmost member, wants to curb migrant boat departures from Lebanon towards its shores.

"If you want to close the sea, you should also close the land," he said.

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