Lebanon News

LF, Future undecided about dialogue participation

Rival political leaders gather at the National Dialogue table at Baabda Palace on Monday, June 11, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The Future Movement and Lebanese Forces are still undecided on whether they will participate in this week’s National Dialogue session, lawmakers from the two parties told The Daily Star Monday.

“The Future Movement will decide in the coming days whether to participate in the all-party talks,” Future parliamentary bloc MP Nabil De Freige said.

De Freige added that his party was still in the process of deciding whether to take part in the multi-party talks.

An Aug. 16 National Dialogue session was postponed to Sept. 20 after several of the participants failed to attend the all-party talks.

The last dialogue session was also held in the absence of Marada leader MP Sleiman Franjieh and Amal Movement head and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

Speaking to The Daily Star, Franjieh’s media advisor Vera Yamine would not confirm whether the Marada leader would participate in Thursday’s session.

LF MP Antoine Zahra voiced a similar position to that of De Freige and said his group has yet to decide on whether to participate in the session called for by President Michel Sleiman.

The LF has boycotted all three sessions that have been held since the cross-party talks were relaunched mid this year.

Zahra said LF leader Samir Geagea would declare the party’s stance soon. Geagea will be interviewed live on television late in the day.

Earlier today, Future parliamentary bloc MP Ahmad Fatfat told the Kataeb-run Voice of Lebanon radio station that should the National Dialogue session be held, its outcomes would not be put into practice.

“The dialogue sessions won’t produce anything fruitful, and even if they do, their resolutions won’t be applied,” Fatfat said.

Fatfat said that should the Future Movement decide to participate, it would represent a continuation of its previous participation in the talks.

“If the Future Movement decides to take part in the dialogue session, it will only be a complementary step to the group’s participation in August session.”

MP Jamal Jarrah, another member of the Future Movement, said the all-party talks would be pointless given recent declarations of the presence of Iran’s Republican Guards in Lebanon.

“What is the point of National Dialogue if Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are the decision makers?” he asked.

Jarrah said that the remarks of the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari regarding the presence of members of his forces in Lebanon and Syria “confirmed what is already known.”

“We are aware that those who lead Hezbollah’s military wing and oversee it are the Iranian Revolutionary Guards,” said the MP.

On Sunday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said that members of his elite special operations unit, the Quds Force, were present in Syria and Lebanon but only to provide "counsel."

Iran’s envoy to Lebanon denied Monday that Revolutionary Guards were present in the country and said Jafari was referring strictly to the situation in Syria, according to Sleiman’s press office. Sleiman also requested that Tehran clarify Jafari’s comments.

A session of National Dialogue on July 24 was postponed after the March 14 coalition tied its participation to a government decision to provide security agencies with telecoms data it said was essential for security agencies probing alleged assassination attempts against opposition figures.

The data has since been handed over to the security apparatuses.





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