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Contacts Between FPM, Lebanese Forces to Protect ‘Maarab Understanding’

Contacts Between FPM, Lebanese Forces to Protect ‘Maarab Understanding’

Wednesday, 27 December, 2017 - 08:15
LF chief Samir Geagea welcomes then MP Michel Aoun to his headquarters in Maarab, northeast of Beirut, on January 18, 2016. (AFP)

Contacts and meetings resumed between the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and the Lebanese Forces (LF) party in an attempt to revive already tense relations between the two largest Christian forces in Lebanon.

Ties became strained after the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri in November, a position backed by the LF.

Information Minister Melhem Riachi, of the LF, and MP Ibrahim Kanaan, of the FPM, are tasked with the mission of repairing relations between the two sides.

The two officials were the sponsors of the Maarab understanding reached in 2016 to end nearly 30 years of disputes between the two Christian parties. The agreement led the LF to announce its backing of Michel Aoun for the country’s presidency. He was elected later that year.

An FPM official and former minister Mario Aoun told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday that relations between both parties is not measured by the presence of some simple disputes, but by their agreement on essential issues.

“The FPM and LF relationship is bound by essential understandings that could not be overlooked,” he said.

The FMP position is shared by the LF.

“There are differences over some positions, but we already agreed to accept each other’s differences,” LF MP Joseph Maalouf told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The disputed files between both sides are countless, and include disagreements over issues related to the oil and electricity sectors, in addition to the issue of appointments in public institutions.

Despite revitalized relations, it does not appear that they would be sufficient for both parties to strike alliances for the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for May.

“The current agreements between the FPM and LF do not mean their translation into electoral alliances,” Aoun said.

He said that the new electoral law is capable of testing the electoral capacities of each party.

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