BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Future bloc: Mansour working against Lebanon’s interests

The Future parliamentary bloc meet in Beirut, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)

BEIRUT: The Future parliamentary bloc slammed Tuesday recent remarks by Syria’s envoy to Lebanon on Damascus’s readiness to respond to sources of fire from across the border with Lebanon and accused Lebanon’s foreign minister of working against the country’s interests.

It also reiterated its call for the formation of a neutral government to oversee the upcoming polls and said it would work toward agreement on a electoral law that sees Lebanon out of its political crisis.

“We denounce in the strongest possible terms the remarks by Syria’s envoy in Lebanon ... in which he affirmed, in an despicable manner, the regime’s readiness ... to violate Lebanon’s sovereignty and launch aggression against Lebanese villages and towns on the northern border,” the bloc said in a statement.

Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdel-Karim Ali, after a meeting with Lebanon’s foreign minister over the weekend, said his government would continue to respond to sources of fire from across the border with Lebanon as a part of standard procedures, days after Lebanese officials urged Damascus to halt the shelling of border villages.

The Future bloc also slammed Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, saying he had ignored instructions from President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

“We cannot keep quiet on the foreign minister’s repeated disregard of requests from the president and prime minister and his insistence on working against the interests of the Lebanese,” it said.

Mansour was tasked by Mikati to protest to Syrian authorities over the recent shelling of northern border villages that killed a number of Lebanese nationals.

Speaking to reporters over the weekend, Ali denied he had been summoned by Mansour and said he had requested the meeting.

The opposition bloc also criticized remarks by Iraq’s prime minister that the fall of the Syrian regime would lead to sectarian conflicts in Lebanon and Iraq.

“[We regret] that this statement was issued from an Arab official,” it said.

“The fall of the regime in Syria is a matter that the Syrian people will decide and not any other side and there is no need for the scenarios that hint of threats and blackmail,” it said.

In an interview last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned that sectarian wars would ensue in Lebanon and Iraq should Syrian rebels defeat President Bashar Assad in the nearly two-year crisis.

In its statement Tuesday, the Future parliamentary bloc also said it was ready to work on an electoral proposal to end the political crisis in Lebanon and reiterated its call for a neutral government to oversee the upcoming elections.

“We are open to dialogue on any law that represents an exit from the present crisis,” the group said, expressing hope that “efforts by relevant sides continue to reach an electoral formula that secures the interests of all and protects liberty, freedom of speech and fair representation.”

“[However], we cannot reach these types of solutions except under a neutral Cabinet that safeguards the country from this level of tension ... and provides a positive shock in preparation for a different stage that is capable of acclimatizing and responding to the dangerous developments in the region,” it said.

The parliamentary bloc noted that it had put forward proposals and solutions, including the initiative by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, to end the stalemate over an electoral law.

In February Hariri put forward an electoral draft law that divides Lebanon into small districts based on a winner-takes-all system and stipulates the establishment of a senate, as outlined in the 1989 Taif Accord, made up of the country’s various religious figures.

Hariri, who opposes the Orthodox Gathering proposal, argued that his draft would address the concerns of both Christians and Muslims.

 

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