BEIRUT: Prominent Future Movement figure Nouhad Machnouk presented Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea with a bouquet of flowers hand-picked from the Grand Serail garden during a visit Tuesday, an apparently literal attempt to woo the party’s estranged ally.
The gardenia flowers had been planted by Interior Minister Machnouk, an LF media spokesperson told The Daily Star.
Machnouk talked with Geagea at his Maarab residence for approximately two hours in the presence of MP Strida Geagea. They discussed the latest developments in Lebanon, including security and the situation in the eastern Bekaa Valley and Tripoli in particular.
The Lebanese Forces refused to participate in the new government, creating tension with its ally the Future Movement, who failed to convince the Christian party to take part in a Cabinet with Hezbollah.
Relations soured further after the Future Movement reached an agreement with the Change and Reform bloc over the fate of the fought-over energy portfolio. Future’s head, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, even met with bloc leader MP Michel Aoun in an apparent attempt to reconcile their differences.
Separately, Machnouk also met with Danish Ambassador to Lebanon Rolf Holmboe and discussed bilateral relations and the latest developments in Lebanon and the region.
Holmboe congratulated the minister on his new post and said the visit was aimed at “ensuring the importance of security and stability for the continuation of normal life in this beautiful country.”
The ambassador also said he considered the newly formed government a “positive step forward” toward democratic life in Lebanon, and was looking forward to the presidential elections.
Machnouk also met with Jordanian Ambassador Zeid Al-Zreiqat and a delegation from the association of fruit and vegetable merchants in Beirut to discuss a project to create a central market for fruits and vegetables. Machnouk has contacted Beirut Mayor Bilal Hamad and asked him to speed up the completion of the maps for the market.
The minister also asked Tuesday for posters and images of him in Beirut to be removed, a task that Civil Defense has begun.