Franjieh called for direct talks with Israel in 2008 , report


Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh suggested during a 2008 meeting with former US Ambassador to Lebanon Michele Sison that direct talks between Lebanon (partnered with Syria ) and Israel would “resolve” Hezbollah’s arms’ issue, a US cable leaked by WikiLeaks said.

According to the leaked cable , Franjieh told Sison on October 27, 2008 that “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had asked his Lebanese counterpart, Michel Suleiman, to open direct negotiations with Israel during the latter’s August 13-14 visit to Damascus.”

“Syria and Lebanon shared the same interests in reaching a peace agreement with Israel,” the cable quoted Franjieh as saying.

He added that “this would get rid of the Hezbollah problem.” However, he said that March 14 parties “refused direct negotiations with Israel because, blinded by their hatred of Syria, they prefer the ‘no peace, no war’ status quo.”

WikiLeaks also quoted Franjieh as “opposing the formation of a third Christian bloc under President Suleiman, and blamed Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea for the failed reconciliation efforts between his party and Marada.”

“He also defended his Christian ally Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun’s recent trip to Iran, as well as Hezbollah’s actions in May [2008],” when gunmen from the Shiite militant group occupied almost half of Beirut.

“ Franjieh claimed his alliance with Hezbollah and Aoun was the result of Sunni failure to allow real Christian representation,” the cable added. Now Lebanon