The former Lebanese president Michel Suleiman warned against “causing chaos in the streets” in order to cancel the municipal elections scheduled for this spring. He said that he fears that this chaos will “impede finding a solution to the municipal issue (the rubbish disposal problem) after impeding a solution to the issue of the presidency and extending the chamber of deputies’ term twice”.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Suleiman talked about the implications of Saudi Arabia withdrawing its military grant to the Lebanese army which was announced shortly before the end of his term in 2014. He stressed that “the fraternal relationship between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia should not be linked to a grant but rather to the many things that the countries have in common and mutual trust. The relationship before the grant was excellent and should remain so even if the grant is completely out of the equation”.
Suleiman rejected claims that Saudi Arabia dealt harshly with Lebanon and said “The kingdom has always treated Lebanon well and has never hesitated to support Lebanon’s staying power in the face of Israel and terrorism. Its policies have been fair and clean since the Taif agreement that ended the war and it helped to reconstruct Lebanon after the end of the war. Saudi Arabia also helped the reconstruction of southern Lebanon and helped the Lebanese army in Nahr Al-Bared (an UNRWA Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli). He continued by asking “What did we expect after this amount of incitement and insults against Saudi Arabia and its symbols by some Lebanese people? Is this how we protect our Lebanese countrymen who live in the Gulf?”