BEIRUT: Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel, after a rare meeting with Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh late Wednesday, said the two agreed on the need to distance Lebanon from the crisis in Syria.
“Our position regarding the Syrian situation is different from Franjieh’s but we both agree on the importance of disassociating Lebanon from the crisis,” Gemayel said after talks with Franjieh, a stout supporter of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The rare meeting took place at Gemayel’s residence in Bikfaya in the Metn.
Gemayel reiterated the March 14 coalition’s call for the Lebanese Army to improve its control along the country’s border to prevent a possible spillover of the Syria crisis into Lebanon.
“We stress on the need to send the Army to control the Lebanese-Syrian border. If such a demand is not realized, the repercussions of the Syrian conflict will spill over into Lebanon,” said Gemayel.
“Lebanese people do not need more problems and crises,” he added.
According to the statement, both men also stressed on the need to reach a new electoral law and hold the parliamentary elections on time as it is “a major constitutional process which will keep the country away from falling into a political vacuum.”
Gemayel also stressed that Lebanese parties needed to communicate with each other and find common ground.
“No one can eliminate the other in Lebanon. The period of elimination is over,” he said.
“It is about time we find common ground through communication and mutual respect to rescue Lebanon in this critical period,” he added.
For his part, Franjieh described his meeting with Gemayel as a visit “to a friend we were introduced to a few years ago and who we love despite our political differences.”
He also said that “the openness of the Lebanese and their readiness to hold talks is what can safeguard Lebanon at this stage.”
Franjieh said that consensus had yet to develop over a new electoral law and voiced opposition to a hybrid formula that joins both the proportional representation and a winner-takes-all system.
“Each party wants a law that suits its interests and so far no accord has been reached over a suggestion that satisfies everyone,” Franjieh said.
"We cannot have two laws within one law,” he also said, commenting on the hybrid proposal.
He also said the March 8 coalition had every right to demand the blocking third and the formation of a national unity Cabinet.
“What the March 8 team is demanding is its right, especially given the number of lawmakers representing this team in Parliament,” said Franjieh.
“If the March 8 does not get its share in Cabinet, we should not take part in the new government and become the opposition,” he added.