Lebanese, Syrian ties must be discussed within Council of Ministers: official

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 6, 2019
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BEIRUT, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Lebanon's relation with Syria should be decided in the Council of Ministers, said Ammar Houri, political advisor to Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, on Wednesday.

"Hariri is the official spokesperson for the Council of Ministers and such matters can only be decided by him," Houri told Xinhua.

Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Gebran Bassil, prior to the government formation in Lebanon, has called for the return of Syria to the Arab League.

Earlier, Bassil said that Lebanon has an interest in restoring ties with Syria because it is the only neighbor to Lebanon, however, the announcement was objected by some members of the ministerial committee.

"We understand that there were some flaws in political stances prior to the formation of the government in Lebanon. But now that the government is formed, the Council of Ministers is the only place where these matters should be discussed and decided," Houri told Xinhua.

Houri added that the decision for the return of Syria to the Arab League should be made by all Arab countries.

Lebanon did not cut its diplomatic ties with Syria and that ministries in the two countries are still in contact, Houri noted.

Although Lebanon has not cut diplomatic or trade ties with Syria, it has kept relations at "arm's length," avoiding official contacts with the Syrian government.

It has also kept itself away from regional conflicts after the Syrian war broke out.

But some political parties in Lebanon, including Hezbollah, Amal movement, and Free Patriotic Movement, have been pushing the government to normalize ties with Syria in a bid to solve the issue of refugees and their safe return to Syria.

Meanwhile, Hariri has on many occasions voiced his opposition to normalizing ties with the current Syrian regime.

Hariri has been a long-time supporter of the Syrian opposition and has often been outspoken about his desire to see the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power. Enditem

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