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Lebanon: Efforts to Ease Tension Between FPM, Hezbollah Supporters

Lebanon: Efforts to Ease Tension Between FPM, Hezbollah Supporters

Tuesday, 20 October, 2020 - 07:00

Contacts are underway between the leaderships of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and Hezbollah to reduce tension between the supporters of the two groups over the border demarcation talks with Israel and the government formation.

Hezbollah had expressed reservation over the delegation assigned by President Michel Aoun to represent Lebanon in the border demarcation negotiations with Israel.

Hezbollah supporters went to accuse the FPM of succumbing to American wishes for fear of economic sanctions. The accusations stirred a wave of angry reactions among FPM partisans, who demanded their leadership break up the alliance with Hezbollah, after “its cost has become high on us and on the country.”

“We have reached a stage in which silence is no longer effective because the fate of the country is at stake,” a senior FPM member told Asharq Al-Awsat.

MP Edgard Maalouf, from the FPM’s Strong Lebanon parliamentary bloc, did not deny the differences in views with Hezbollah on several matters.

He stated: “However, this should not reach the point of undermining the relationship with the party and the fall of the agreement,” known as the Mar Mikhael agreement, which was signed between Aoun and Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in 2006.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Maalouf said that the two sides have overcome the dispute over the negotiating delegation by keeping the same lineup put forward by Aoun, without taking into account the observations presented by the Shiite duo, i.e. Hezbollah and Amal Movement.

However, the FPM now fears that an agreement would be reached at its expense, represented by the designation of former Premier Saad Hariri to lead the new government, especially after head of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Walid Jumblattand and former Minister Sleiman Franjieh have both joined the Shiite duo to push for Hariri’s designation.

“There are no settlements at the expense of the FPM, but internal and external political changes that need to be taken into consideration,” said Writer and Analyst Qassem Kassir.

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