BEIRUT: Syria expects Lebanon to adopt a “positive” form of dissociation towards developments, Syrian Foreign Affairs spokesperson Jihad al-Makdissi said in comments published Thursday.
“We understand Lebanon’s dissociation policy but we want a positive form of dissociation,” Makdissi, speaking to Al-Joumhouria newspaper, said.
Since the uprising took off in Syria last year, the Lebanese government has adopted a policy of dissociation toward developments in the region but particularly in Syria. During a meeting of the recently relaunched National Dialogue in June, rival politicians agreed to distance
Lebanon from events in the region and the crisis in its neighboring country.
Asked what Damascus wished from Beirut, Makdissi said his government expected greater things from its tiny neighbor compared to other states.
“We get disappointed with Lebanon because of our appreciation for it because the things that connect Lebanon and Syria are many and therefore we always ask of it greater [things] than of any other country,” he said.
In remarks to Al-Arabiya and Sky News Wednesday, Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the country’s dissociation policy does not apply when Lebanon is the target of aggression.
Mikati, in New York heading the Lebanese delegation at the 67th General Assembly session, also said he hadn’t spoken with President Bashar Assad since he became prime minister in January 2011.
Syria’s spokesperson told the local paper that “official channels with Lebanon are open but there are forces inside the country that do not have an interest in their being stability in Syria.”
“We make a distinction between official Lebanon and political groups in Lebanon,” Makdissi said, in an apparent reference to the March 14 coalition.
Lebanese politicians remain divided over the crisis in Syria, where violence reportedly claims hundreds on a daily basis in what the International Committee for the Red Cross has described as an “internal armed conflict.”
Lebanon’s opposition has openly backed the cause of Syrians seeking to topple Assad. Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt, a former member of the March 14 alliance, has also been one of Assad’s harshest critics. On the other hand, the Hezbollah-dominated March 8 coalition has been one of Damascus’ most vocal supporters.