BEIRUT: The Future Movement considers itself closer to Lebanon's Christians than to Islamist extremists, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said Sunday, stressing the party's belief in the Lebanese state as the guarantor of peace and stability.
“I cannot find any link to the terrorists. I consider that you people who are gathered here are closer to me that those who raise the Wilayat al-Fakih banner in Tehran or the caliph banner in Raqqa and Mosul,” Siniora said, addressing a gathering of Christian groups and parties in Le Gabriel Hotel in Ashrafieh.
“It is with people like you that we want to build on principles of patriotism and coexistence, so that our nation could fit the ambitions of its people,” the head of the Future parliamentary bloc added.
Siniora stressed on the support of the Lebanese Army, the rule of law and the legitimate authorities, refusing “any weapon outside the state’s authority.”
“[We refuse] any form of terrorism, be it in the name of religion, a party or a sect,” he said. “Extremism and terrorism are not confronted with sectarianism, but through [believing in] the democratic state and working on implementing the rule of law without discrimination.”
He expressed fear that the Syrian war could expand to Lebanon, stressing that electing a new president was the “first and central task to reconstruct the authority in Lebanon and confront the faced threats and challenges.”
“What is needed is a president that symbolizes Lebanon’s unity according to the Taif accord,” he said. “We do not believe in a president biased to regional or international axes, but rather in a president that is biased toward the Baabda Declaration.”
Signed in 2012 by rival political leaders who met at Baabda Palace, the declaration stated that Lebanon should be distanced from regional crises. The pact’s significance was that it announced a unified Lebanese opinion against engaging in the Syrian war.
However, after Hezbollah deliberately announced its involvement in fighting alongside Bashar Assad's regime in Syria, the declaration became widely contested especially by the March 8 coalition.
“Do we want a Lebanon that is the model of tolerance, or do we want it a model of death and exporting revolutions?” Siniora asked. “Do we want Lebanon’s youth to be progressive pioneers in their country and Arab environment, or militant fighters participating in assassinations in Qusair and Qalamoun and bringing the forces of evil to Lebanon?"