A Lebanese Forces (LF) official refuted claims that ties between Prime Minister Saad Hariri and LF chief Samir Geagea had soured in wake of the former’s resignation announcement in early November.
Geagea’s aide Wehbe Qatisha told Asharq Al-Awsat that ties between the two leaders were “good”, contrary to what some sides are trying to portray.
It is not up to Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq to determine the shape of their relationship, he remarked.
Mashnouq had said that ties between Hariri’s Musataqbal Movement and the LF were “not at their best.”
He said that bruises caused in the latest phase in Lebanon can be treated with dialogue and discussions.
Hariri announced his resignation on November 4, but earlier this week he suspended it in order to allow room for consultations to resolve contentious issues in Lebanon.
Qatisha added: “Over the past 20 days, some sides sought to spread rumors about our ties with the Mustaqbal Movement. But we are united by a common strategic project and those who are harmed by it are seeking to attack us and sabotage the relationship in order to achieve petty gains.”
Mashnouq had rejected during a televised appearance claims that the ties between Hariri and Geagea were excellent. He added however that resolving the differences should be narrowed down to the two leaders.
Attention will now be turned to a “decisive” Hariri-Geagea meeting, the date of which has not been set yet, said LF sources. The meeting was described as one where the two officials would be able to speak openly about their concerns.
The Markazia news agency reported that the meeting would either fortify the Mustaqbal-LF relationship ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections or lead to a severing of ties and Geagea’s announcement of his ministers’ resignation from cabinet.
Sources from the Mustaqbal Movement said that differences with the LF can be resolved with dialogue and ties could return to normal as soon as possible.
Furthermore, they stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that two parties had in the past experienced tensions much worse than the ones they are passing through right now.
“The two sides are aware that they cannot continue without the other. It is in the interest of both parties to address any flaws that may arise between them,” they added.