Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea blasted Syrian Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otari in statement issued on Saturday, by saying “that the March 14 alliance, which Otari labeled as a ‘cardboard box’ brought an end to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon in 2005.
Geagea’s remarks come in response Otari statement to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai that the March 14 alliance is a “cardboard box” and the Syrian regime does not take such labels seriously.
The LF leader also said that Syria’s criticism of March 14 is made in the context of a Syrian campaign against Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Geagea decried Otari’s statement that Syria cares about Lebanon’s security and bilateral relations, and said “that are certain steps that should have been taken by Syria , such as steps related to the issue of Lebanese detainees in Syrian jails and armed Palestinian factions outside refugee camps in Lebanon, that take orders from Damascus.”
Similarly, in statement issued on Saturday, Future Movement which is headed by PM Saad Hariri blasted Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji al-Otari’s over his statement about March 14 describing the remarks as ” inappropriate and a blatant interference in Lebanese internal affairs. ”
“It is unfortunate that the premier of a sister state would make such a statement against a popular political movement,” the Future Movement added.
Similarly , March 14 General Secretariat coordinator Fares Soueid criticized Otari’s comments about the March 14 alliance . He told Akhbar al-Yawm news agency on Saturday that Otari’s remarks demonstrate “exceptional hatred toward a million and a half Lebanese people.”
March 14 united Lebanon and “seized its independence” in 2005 when the Syrian army was forced to leave the country, Soueid added.
Otari ought to recalculate his position given Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon, he also said, adding that the Syrian PM should “know that his and his government’s authority in Lebanon has become cardboard after Ahmadinejad’s visit to Beirut.”
Soueid also said that March 14 is still seeking to open a new page in relations with Syria to solidify the Arab stance against Iranian hegemony.
The name March 14 was adopted by the Lebanese parliament majority alliance headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
It was on March 14 that over a million Lebanese under the banner of the Cedar Revolution protested in downtown Beirut against the Syrian military presence. The goal of the revolution was the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and the replacement of a government heavily influenced by Syrian interests with more independent leadership, the establishment of an international commission to investigate the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri, the resignation of security officials to ensure the success of the plan, and the organization of free parliamentary elections. The demonstrators demanded the end of the Syrian influence in Lebanese politics. At the start of the demonstrations, Syria had been maintaining a force of roughly 14,000 soldiers and intelligence agents in Lebanon. Following the demonstrations, the Syrian troops completely withdrew from Lebanon on April 27, 2005. The Pro-Syrian government was also disbanded, accomplishing the main goal of the revolution.