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Aoun Remarks on Change of Defense Strategy Standards Spark Debate

Aoun Remarks on Change of Defense Strategy Standards Spark Debate

Wednesday, 21 August, 2019 - 12:00
President Michel Aoun Meets a Delegation from the Pastoral Council in Deir El Kamar | Dalati & Nohra

Disagreement over Hezbollah's weapons reemerged after remarks by Lebanese President Michel Aoun on changing the "defense strategy standards" related to the party, an issue he had promised to tackle after the parliamentary elections and the approval of the 2019 budget.

The Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) said that the call to discuss the strategy was still on the table but it was only a matter of timing.

Aoun answered a question on the call to renew a national dialogue on a defense strategy, saying that the defense strategy standards have changed. He wondered what the strategy would be based on, now that even the regional balances of power have changed.

“The military developments in the region neighboring Lebanon over the past years require a new approach for the issue of the defense strategy that would take into consideration these developments, especially after world powers and terrorist groups intervened in the wars that several countries that neighbor Lebanon witnessed, which created changes in the goals and strategies,” the Presidency said, explaining Aoun’s remarks.

“The President is committed to the stances he had announced over the issue of the defense strategy and the need to discuss it in a consensual atmosphere,” it added in a statement.

The Future parliamentary bloc saw that this topic should be permanent on the national dialogue agenda.

Reliable sources affirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the call to discuss the defense strategy is still on the table but it was delayed by various developments in Lebanon.

FPM MP Alain Aoun noted that the president's remarks on the defense strategy mainly stem from the emergence of ISIS in the region, the conflict in Syria and Russia's role as a key regional player.

Lebanese Forces spokesman Charles Jabbour stressed hoped Aoun would amend his statements.

Political expert and Hezbollah specialist Qassem Qassir told Asharq Al-Awsat that the president did not mean the calling off of discussions on the defense strategy, but it is required to take into consideration the changes in the region.

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