BEIRUT: Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun said Monday he had met recently with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in an attempt to reconcile conflicting views between the two main rival factions.
In an interview on the FPM’s official Facebook page, Aoun said: “Certainly, anyone who wants to undertake a mediation attempt to reconcile viewpoints between opposing sides should talk to all the parties. Based on this, I had met with [former] Prime Minister Saad Hariri and also with Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.”
However, Aoun did not say where he met Hariri, head of the Future Movement, who has been living out of Lebanon for more than two years for security reasons, or what was discussed during the meeting.
The FPM leader’s previous meetings with Nasrallah were held at the latter’s house in Beirut’s southern suburbs. Aoun and Nasrallah signed a memorandum of understanding in February 2006 as part of their political alliance.
Aoun’s rare meeting with Hariri was followed by a major breakthrough in the Cabinet formation last month when the head of the Future Movement said he was ready to share power with Hezbollah in a coalition government.
Also, contacts between the Future Movement and the FPM resulted in a compromise between the two sides to resolve the row over the rotation of ministerial portfolios, which held up the Cabinet formation for weeks. Aoun said he expected the presidential election, scheduled in May, to be held on time.
In recent weeks, FPM lawmakers have held a series of meetings with various political parties, including the Future Movement, in a bid the MPs said was to promote understanding among rival factions.
However, Aoun’s political opponents claim that the FPM lawmakers’ moves were aimed at promoting the chances of the FPM leader in the forthcoming presidential election.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 18, 2014, on page 1.