BEIRUT: Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement remain at odds over a number of local and regional matters including Syria, MP Michel Aoun said in an interview published over the weekend.
“There are differences [with Hezbollah] over a number of issues, mainly over establishing the state, democracy, settling the situation of south Lebanon, the Palestinian cause and Syria,” Aoun told pan Arab Al-Hayat in an interview published Saturday.
Aoun, who has previously defended Hezbollah’s military role in Syria, said his FPM opposed any military intervention in foreign states.
“This is an individual initiative and there is no understanding between us and [ Hezbollah over involvement in Syria] and we oppose the intervention outside Lebanese territories,” he said.
“The presence of the resistance in Syria is an understanding between them and Syria, we are not part of such an understanding,” Aoun explained.
Aoun also reiterated his willingness to visit Saudi Arabia and said there were no obstacles preventing the FPM from opening up to Riyadh.
“There are no obstacles in the essence of the relation with Saudi Arabia but there are Lebanese political sides that have imparted the impression that Gen. Michel Aoun is against Saudi Arabia,” he said.
“If we review our ties with Saudi Arabia then there are not barriers between us and Saudi Arabia helps Lebanon to be stable and build a strong Army,” he added.
Aoun said there was nothing preventing him from accepting a possible invitation to Saudi Arabia.
“Why not, what can impede me?” he asked.
Aoun hinted that former Prime Minister Saad Hariri was behind the FPM leader’s strained ties with Riyadh but said the dispute between him and Hariri was now in the past.
“We had a dispute in the past which led us to resign from his Cabinet and now it is over,” he said.
“If Hariri comes back, this is his country because he is a political leader and enjoys a [popular] political presence,” Aoun added.
Ties between the FPM and Saudi Arabia, a major backer of the March 14 coalition, have been strained over the past years.
However, an ice breaking visit from Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri to Aoun took place in June.