BEIRUT: Minister of State Nabil de Freij Sunday accused the Syrian regime of opening the way for terrorist groups to enter Lebanon, calling on Hezbollah to cooperate with Army for one defense strategy.
"Yabroud’s battle, which was supposed to last for a month, was ended in hours because the Syrian regime intended to let [the takfiris] enter Lebanon,” De Freij told LBCI.
He said that the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria was not created out of nothing but rather had different names before.
“Dictatorial regimes use them when they feel threatened, to tell the Western and international community that this is the alternative to their regimes,” De Freij said, accusing the Syrian regime of using fundamentalist groups for its own interests.
The minister, who is also a Future bloc MP, blamed Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria for bringing terrorism to Lebanon.
“Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria prompted their enemies there to come fight them here,” he said, adding that the party should have communicated any information about terrorist groups coming to Lebanon in the dialogue meetings, so that “one common defense line could be formed on the borders.”
De Freij said his party had been calling for a common defense strategy since 2006, stressing that only through the Army that such a strategy could be achieved.
“We have said that the solution will come only through the Lebanese Army,” De Freij said, “and we have called on Hezbollah to sit with the Army to discuss a defense strategy.”
The minister said Hezbollah had rejected a deal to join the Lebanese Army as an independent unit, which was proposed by Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea to end the dilemma.
On the internal political affairs, De Freij called for a parliamentary election session in which every bloc supported its own candidate.
“If they consider Dr. Geagea as a ‘confrontation-candidate,’ why don’t they come forward with their candidate and we will conduct the elections?" De Freij said. “If [Geagea] succeeded then they shall respect the will of the Parliament, and if their candidate won, we will congratulate him. This is the democratic game."
De Freij expressed his support for conducting of the presidential election first, calling for a parliamentary session with absolute majority quorum to elect a president.
“To conduct the elections we need an 86-MP quorum, and this would not be achievable unless a part of March 8 was there,” De Freij said. “In my opinion, having a quorum of 65 and electing a president is better than vacuum.”
He slammed MP Michel Aoun’s call for a president with the widest Christian popularity base, reminding that Aoun had “chosen [former Prime Minister] Najib Mikati, who was not the most popular among the Sunni community.”
“This is impossible, and it does not happen this way in Lebanon. The president is a president for the republic and not for the Christians,” De Freij added. “He should be a reference to all sectarian groups.”
He called for a president with a “strong personality” but who will think “Lebanese-wise and not only Christian-wise.”
He also touched on the Lebanese University matter, denying any “political influence on the issue.”
“There is a university council and it must facilitate matters, the situation in the LU must improve and this is what I expect despite the existence of some gaps,” De Freij added.