BEIRUT: Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi slammed Friday a quote attributed to Syrian President Bashar Assad in which he said that the next Lebanese president should support Hezbollah and the resistance axis.
“It is not within the power of the Syrian president to choose a president for Lebanon,” Rifi tweeted. “The time of the [Syrian] tutelage has ended and we shall not accept [attacks] on Lebanon’s sovereignty and institutions by anyone.”
“Assad reminded us of the fall of the Nazis prior to fall of Berlin," he added. "He had better quit [playing] the symphony of the resistance because time does not go backwards."
In a report by As-Safir daily, Assad was quoted by visitors as saying that the most important quality in the next Lebanese president is the level of “resistance” he allows.
“We are not interested in who the next Lebanese president is, but rather in his choices and what he could offer the axis of the resistance, which is the basic criterion for us,” Assad reportedly told his visitors.
Assad was also quoted as saying that his country and Lebanon’s Hezbollah are united and “share the same fate.”
Lebanon’s next presidential election is due in May 2014 but the constitutional period to elect a new head of state begins on March 25, two months prior to the expiration of Sleiman’s mandate.