Franjieh to also boycott Aoun’s dialogue talks , calls them a photo op

Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjieh at the Baabda presidential palace after meeting with president Michel Aoun
Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjieh at the Baabda presidential palace after meeting with president Michel Aoun

Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjieh announced Tuesday that his movement will boycott national dialogue that President Michel Aoun called for

“We will be present whenever called by President Aoun and we have no personal problem with him. We agree on the strategic issues and we’re advocates of dialogue, but it should be between two camps and not within the same camp. That’s why we wished them success and said that we won’t take part in dialogue,” Franjieh announced after meeting Aoun in Baabda.

“We do not support a dialogue that will be for photo op and we will not attend dialogue to be in the photos,” he said, while noting that Marada would support any resolutions taken in such a conference.

Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjieh at the Baabda presidential palace during meeting with president Michel Aoun

Responding to questions by reporters, the Marada chief said: “Hezbollah only seeks good ties between us and the Free Patriotic Movement, but you have to see if (FPM chief Gebran) Bassil would accept to ally with corrupts, because he considers us so.”

“Had I come to the palace to pave my way for the presidency, I would have appeased President Aoun and would have acted in another way,” Franjieh added, in reference to the rumors that Hezbollah is seriously considering him as a candidate to replace Aoun after his term expires in October

President Aoun started holding separate meetings on Tuesday . He met earlier today with Hezbollah parliamentary leader MP Mohammad Raad and MP Talal Arslan and is expected to meet later with Tashnag bloc chief MP Hagop Pakradounian a representative of the Amal Movement parliamentary bloc, all allies of Hezbollah

Aoun’s bilateral meetings are aimed at exploring the possibility of holding a national dialogue conference based on his recent proposal

According to media reports Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat also would not attend . He had announced two days ago that “seeking the revival of Cabinet sessions remains the most important thing, before doing any other act.”

Al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri and the Lebanese Forces have already confirmed their boycott of the proposed dialogue.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati reportedly told Aoun that “the current circumstances are not appropriate for dialogue talks , informed sources told al-Joumhouria.

“He reportedly told Aoun that if he insists on holding the talks he might take part only in his capacity as the prime minister and not as head of a bloc 

The newly-formed Cabinet of PM Mikati has not convened since October 14 due to a dispute over the port blast investigator Judge Tarek Bitar . Hezbollah and the Amal Movement are demanding that the government take action to fire him over alleged bias. 

Both Aoun and Mikati, have stressed that they reject “political interference” in judicial affairs.

A member of Free Patriotic Movement ( FPM) parliamentary bloc, MP Asaad Dergham, blasted Hezbollah and Amal for preventing the cabinet from holding meetings calling their action a crime against the Lebanese 

In an interview with Al-Jadeed TV, Dergham said: “What Hezbollah and the Amal Movement are committing against the Lebanese is a crime. The government is stalled in light of the ongoing collapse, and the country needs to approve a budget and approve a plan for financial and economic recovery, and people are starving.”

In order for Lebanon to get any help from the IMF , in getting out of the financial crisis it needs to finalize its 2022 budget . If the budget is not finalized and submitted to IMF the current talks will collapse like they did during the first round , Lebanon will return to square one 

Raad confirms Hezbollah will always be the master of this country

It is important to note that FPM founder President Michel Aoun has been Allied with Hezbollah since 2006 and the current leader of FPM is Aoun’s son-in-law MP Gebran Bassil who is also allied with Hezbollah. Hezbollah is also allied with the Amal movement of Speaker Nabih Berri.

Meanwhile the Lebanese currency collapsed again today as the financial crisis continues . The pound ( The Lebanese Lira) LL , which is officially pegged at the rate of about 1500 LL to the US dollar, hit today the rate of 33,600 LL to the dollar , a new black market record low . One analyst told Ya Libnan ,” this is the price we are paying for getting Aoun to Baabda “, a possible reference to Aoun’s agreement of Feb 2006 with Hezbollah which is blamed for the collapse of Lebanon and its economy