The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri received last evening at the Center House the Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea, accompanied by former Minister Melhem Riachi in the presence of former Minister Ghattas Khoury. Discussions focused on the political situation and the latest developments and continued over dinner.
Before dinner, Geagea told reporters: I discussed with Premier Hariri some of the key issues that worry us all as Lebanese. The first thing I raised was what we discussed earlier during our bloc meeting. It is the fact that the situation in the region is deteriorating. Therefore, it is very important that the legitimate authority does not allow any Lebanese to throw Lebanon into the havoc present in the region. Unfortunately, we have seen that some may have intentions in this respect, and we must not accept to burn Lebanon for anything, except to defend Lebanon.
He added: We also discussed the economic and social situation, and the budget. Discussions will continue in the Finance and Budget parliamentary committee that will give recommendations, but the actual debate and vote will be in the parliamentary general session. Thus, we are coordinating our stances to the utmost ay with the Future movement, so that we reach the best possible budget.
He continued: I want to point out that the budget is not just about figures. It is primarily about the image of the state and a general perception of the economic and financial situation. Regarding the image of the state and the confidence in the state, things cannot continue like this, where some allow themselves to tamper with the state's affairs in one way or another without limits. This in itself harms the budget and the confidence. If the confidence is shaken then we will not have any abilities, neither in CEDRE nor in other conference. If the Lebanese and the granting states see that a tension took place for simple reasons like appointments, how will they give confidence? Thus, actual reform should start from here.
Geagea said that reform starts by acting responsibly and by giving better signs regarding reform, and this did not happen yet. This is why the situation is not getting better.
He concluded: What brings us together with Premier Hariri is a history of struggle, regardless of some ups and downs that are normal between political parties. There is a minimum that always brings us together, and it is the perception of Lebanon and our adherence to the Constitution, the Taef Accord, the state, implementing the laws in it, the monopoly of arms in the hands of the state and preserving national dignity and sovereignty.
Asked about the appointments, Geagea said that they talked about them but there were more important issues, mainly the situation in the region that needs great efforts to avoid involving Lebanon in what is happening in the region.
Asked about the position of the Lebanese Forces if they were excluded from appointments, Geagea said that they don't want anything from these appointment but they want them to be done according to a certain mechanism and criteria to regain the confidence of the Lebanese.
Asked why he talks about war in the region while we are in a quiet time, he said: Unfortunately some parties a few weeks ago, through their statements, put Lebanon back into the fray and attacked Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others, although this is not the suitable time for this while we are at the eve of the summer season. We have to calm things down.
He added: Also Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah was very clear in his last speech when he said that no one should think that if Iran were to be attacked, it would be confined to Iran. But what does it have to do with us? We hope that no one will be targeted and that Iran will not be targeted, but if, God forbid, Iran is hit, why should Lebanon get involved? This is unacceptable. We ask all officials, including the President, the Prime Minister and the Speaker, to assume their responsibility in this regard.
Source: National News Agency