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Presidential Ambitions behind Bassil’s Rapprochement with PSP

Presidential Ambitions behind Bassil’s Rapprochement with PSP

Tuesday, 10 September, 2019 - 07:30
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil. (NNA)

Political circles are analyzing a recent meeting between the leader of the parliamentary Democratic Gathering bloc, MP Taymur Walid Jumblatt, and head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.

The “frank meeting” came less than two weeks after a lunch hosted by President Michel Aoun, Bassil’s father-in-law, in the presence of Druze leader and Taymur’s father, Walid Jumblatt and his family.

Observers wondered whether this was a sign of a rapprochement between the two sides following a period of shaky relations that further deteriorated in wake of a deadly incident in the Chouf area earlier this summer.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, political sources noted that many developments forced Bassil to review his political stances, in light of the negative repercussions that resulted from the way he dealt with the Qabrshmoun incident, which led him to a dead end with the PSP.

“Walid Jumblatt’s steadfastness, supported by parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and the heads of the Lebanese Forces and the Kataeb Party, led Bassil to review his positions, especially since Aoun responded to Berri’s call to sponsor a reconciliation”, the sources said.

They emphasized that Taymur accepted without hesitation Bassil’s invitation to lunch in Laqlouq, “because the PSP did not close the doors to dialogue, and therefore was ready to explore the possibility of cooperation with the FPM in the future without harming its relations with its allies, mainly the Lebanese Forces.”

Bassil, long after hesitating to open channels of communication with the PSP, was now betting on a conciliatory approach with some parties for the sake of his presidential ambitions, according to the sources that spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat.

In other words, the foreign minister’s decision to strike a truce with the PSP, though late, came after a reevaluation and the political blow he received in the wake of his inability to retaliate against his opponents over the Qabrshmoun incident.

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