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Lebanon: ‘Political Weariness’ due to Normalization with Syrian Regime | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil gestures after an interview with Reuters at his office in Beirut September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

Beirut- The Lebanese government is facing a chain of challenges that are seriously threatening its stability for the first time. Major challenges are the economic file and the obvious push of 8 March alliance towards normalization with the Syrian regime.

Days after the meeting of Lebanese Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil and his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly sessions, a debate spurred between Bassil and Lebanese Interior Minister Nohad al-Mashnouq who was later on accompanied by Information Minister Melhem Riachi.

Mashnouq, after his meeting with Lebanese Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan, stated that Bassil-Muallem meeting undermines the government solidarity and breaches the political settlement which the government was formed in its regard.

“What happened reflects a huge political transformation and not only a minor debate inside the cabinet,” he added.

Information Minister Melhem Riachi refused to communicate with the Syrian regime and considered that Bassil’s justifications on the necessity of negotiating with the two countries contradict with the ministerial statement of impartiality.

Bassil replied on Machnouq without naming him, “Who undermines Lebanon’s interest is the one who refuses the exit of refugees from his land.”

Remarkably, Prime Minister Saad Hariri didn’t announce any stance regarding the meeting, knowing that during the last period he was keen to understand the division triggered by ministers’ visits to Damascus.

March 8 alliance said that it is unlikely that the debate on normalization affects the government stability since the continuity of the government is in everyone’s favor without exceptions.