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Bassil’s NY visit labeled 'provocative' by U.S.-based March 14
Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil arrives to attend a Cabinet session at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, Monday, July 30, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil arrives to attend a Cabinet session at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, Monday, July 30, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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BEIRUT: The Future Movement of Saad Hariri and Samir Geagea’s Lebanese Forces condemned Tuesday a visit to New York by Lebanon’s Energy Minister Gebran Bassil, given his alliance with Hezbollah.

In a statement issued by the two main pillars of the opposition March 14 coalition in Boston, Future and the LF denounced Bassil’s visit as “provocative.”

“We warn of the serious implications [of his visit] since the Free Patriotic Movement is an ally of Hezbollah and the Syrian-Iranian axis," the joint statement said.

“The FPM which Bassil represents and which claims loyalty to the homeland and calls for reform and change as well as [claiming to] safeguard the interests of Christian presence in the Levant, is a tool in the hands of Hezbollah which is dragging Lebanon into regional and international conflicts,” the statement added.

Bassil warned Monday of the spread of Islamic fundamentalist groups in Syria.

Speaking from New York during a meeting with members of the Lebanese community in the U.S., Bassil said “Christians play a primary and active role in the Middle East, however they are facing a major threat in Syria with the outburst of extremist Islamist groups.”

The minister also warned of the danger of the displacement of Christians from Syria, saying it was of particular concern given dwindling numbers of Christians in Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and the Palestinian territories.

“The international community is not paying attention to such a crucial matter that should be addressed seriously,” Bassil said.

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