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Saad Hariri: Michel Aoun's statement was inappropriate

BEIRUT |, with agencies - June 25, 2014, 12h25
Photo: National News Agency
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri met on Tuesday afternoon with former President Michel Sleiman in Paris. The meeting focused on the latest developments. Mr Hariri also met with the French Fo reign Minister, Laurent Fabius, at the Quai d'Orsay. Here is the official statement delivered by Saad Hariri after his meeting with Mr Sleiman. They were sent to us by Mr Hariri's press office.
After his meeting with former President Michel Sleiman, Premier Hariri said: "I had today the honor to meet with President Sleiman, and we talked about the situation in Lebanon, particularly the subject of the presidential election, which matters to all Lebanese, and we are seeking to end the vacancy as soon as possible. The president is the head of the State and obstructing the election of the President of the Republic is in my opinion a crime against the Lebanese. I thanked the President for the years during which he showed patience, with all Lebanese, towards the politicians, especially that he has always been very moderate regarding the wrangling that took place between politicians, and he always rounded off the corners and gave the right advice to all. We hope that we will all go back to Lebanon and see it rise, because the country really needs to rise, for the sake of all the Lebanese.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri called for an eighth session to elect the President of the Republic on July 2. Are you optimistic about this session or will it be followed by others?
I wish each time that the session would lead to the election of the President of the Republic. But in the political reality experienced by the Lebanese, the souls should calm down and we should all focus on Lebanon's interest first and look for consensus.
Our position, as a political movement, is clear. There should be a Christian - Christian dialogue in order to collect ideas and reach consensus, especially that this position is for all the Lebanese, but it is also a Christian position. This is important for us as "Future Movement". Hence, I believe that the Christian party leaders have to reconcile and dialogue. They all have fears for the Christians, and so do we, therefore we call on everyone to really focus on the interest of Lebanon and the interest of Christians in the East and the interest of the presidency.
We hope that something good will come out of the next session to elect the President, but there is a reality, and we hope that we can all reach consensus.

We witness today the return of bombings. What do these bombings represent in your opinion?
They represent a cowardly act from some groups that do not want the state. Whatever they do, they will not change the reality of coexistence in Lebanon. Some believe that by increasing tension, the situation in Lebanon may explode, but I think this is a cowardly act and the government and the security and military leaderships should work seriously to stop these bombings. In addition, some political parties, especially Hezbollah, should withdraw from Syria and spare Lebanon the tragedies we are facing. We cannot see all these tragedies, whether in Syria or Iraq, and say that no one can reach us. The fire will reach us if some groups are interfering in the Syrian or Iraqi affairs.

General Michael Aoun said he is ready to ensure your political security if you return to Lebanon. Do you intend to return to Lebanon soon?

I do not need any political security. When I decide to return to Lebanon, God protects everybody. General Aoun may have explained later what he meant, but regardless of this explanation, the statement was inappropriate. Such statements should not be directed to Saad Hariri or to any other Lebanese politician. We have a path that we will continue, which is Lebanon’s unity and the interest of Lebanon before anything else.
I also want to thank President Michael Sleiman for the medal he presented to me.

What do you say about your meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius today?
We spoke about Lebanon and everybody is seeking Lebanon’s interest and trying to round off the corners for the sake of Lebanon’s stability.
#SaadHariri, #Presidential_elections, #Lebanon, #Michel_Sleiman, #Michel_Aoun
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