Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea praised on Thursday the statement issued by the Syrian National Council but added “what is more important is that the clauses of the statement be implemented.”
He said the SNC statement will put Lebanese-Syrian relations on the right track.
The SNC issued a statement on Wednesday saying that it wants to “reconsider the agreements signed between Lebanon and Syria and ink new ones which would take into account the interests of both countries, as well as common benefits.”
“The General Secretariat considers the SNC statement as a sign of hope and a courageous step that opens a new page in the Lebanese-Syrian ties based on the sovereignty and independence of both countries,” the statement issued by March 14 General Secretariat said.
The statement also said that “March 14 looks forward to further communication with the SNC.”
The statement also said that the new agreements that SNC wants to sign with Lebanon “will focus on bilateral ties in the framework of correct diplomatic representation.”
The SNC also pledged to “cancel the Lebanese-Syrian Higher Council,” and called for “controlling and demarcating the Lebanese-Syrian border, especially the Shebaa farms [region].”
It also pledged to “end the Syrian intelligence’s influence in Lebanon, and stop Syrian intervention in Lebanese affairs.”
The SNC also vowed to “put end to arms trafficking from Syria to Lebanon.”
The council also said it will “form a Syrian-Lebanese committee to tackle the issue of Lebanese detainees in Syrian jails.”
The statement added that “free, independent and democratic Syria acknowledges Lebanon as a sovereign and independent country.”
Syrian attacks against Lebanon
Geagea criticized the Syrian navy attack on three Lebanese fishermen off the coast of the northern town of Arida earlier this month and called it a “political message to those concerned.”
Unfortunately the message was sent after shedding the blood of Lebanese, he said.
The government should ask for an apology from the Syrian authorities over the Arida incident, Geagea said.
He also stressed that the Lebanese government should stop any attack on Lebanon or resort to the U.N. Security Council if Syria infringes on its sovereignty again, or else the government would be complicit with Syria against its own people, he warned.
About a decision by Lebanon to steer itself clear of the Assad regime’s deadly crackdown on Syrian protestors, Geagea said President Michel Suleiman and Premier Najib Miqati should “give clear indications to Foreign Minister (Adnan Mansour) on a true policy of keeping a distance (from the Syrian) crisis and not just in words.”
The LF leader said that Mansour is not applying the policy of disassociating Lebanon from the Syrian crisis.” adding that Mansour was defending the Syrian regime during the Arab League’s meeting on Syrian crisis?”
The LF leader called for a fair implementation of the law, rejecting the “persecution” of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
“Lebanon is in its nature the land of freedom and we won’t allow any authority to tarnish its image,” he warned.
Red Diesel scandal
On the scandal of the red diesel that shook Lebanon last week, Geagea urged state-run inspection boards and all judicial agencies to follow up the case until the truth is revealed.
“We can’t continue to live in an atmosphere of scandals,” he said.
An investigation into the case was launched on Tuesday after reports said that the oil refinery in the North distributed to oil companies 8 million liters of red diesel at a subsidized price hours before the end of the government deadline for a one-month LL3,000 subsidy.
The red diesel was later reportedly sold at higher prices giving millions of dollars of benefits to the companies.
Another crisis that has rocked Lebanon is severe electricity cuts throughout the country.
“It is strange that the party calling for demonstrations is the same party that is at the helm of the energy ministry,” Geagea quipped about calls by Energy Minister Jebran Bassil, who is a Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) official, to the people to demonstrate against electricity rationing.
Bassil is accusing several parties of hindering the implementation of his $1.2 billion electricity project that was adopted by the cabinet last September.
“Why wouldn’t the energy minister cut electricity from those not paying bills” as a solution to the power crisis? Geagea wondered. This was a possible reference to Hezbollah and Amal members who reportedly refuse to pay their electric bills
FPM is closely allied with Hezbollah