Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- As the country’s politicians resumed the national dialogue to discuss a number of issues that have paralyzed the government, the Beirut MP Saad al Hariri appeared relaxed and smiled broadly when answering questions about the day’s proceedings.
A third round of dialogue, expected March 22, will see Muslim and Christian leaders discuss disarming Hezbollah and ousting President Emile Lahoud.
Hariri remained in Martyrs’ Square after the meetings ended and expressed his happiness an agreement was reached over a host of divisive issues, “which we didn’t think, for one second, we could agree on”. “It has appeared that if we sit around a common table and speak seriously, we can solve all [outstanding] issues.”
The son of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri who was assassinated in a car bomb on 14 February 2004 then met with Michel Aoun, head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, whom he joined for lunch at a restaurant in downtown Beirut . The meal, which crowned the positive atmosphere at the conference, consisted of famous Lebanese dishes, including tabbouleh, hummos and kebbeh. Desert was served in another restaurant with Samir Geagea, president of the Lebanese Force’s executive committee and his wife, Strida.
Hariri expressed hope that “all outstanding issues are settled without any interference, after it we were forbidden to do so in the past. Lebanon is the winner when leaders sit with each other and present their points of view.’
“What has been reached concerning the Palestinian issue and the Shebaa Farms ad the presidency and the cooperation agreements with Syria, which are in the interest of Lebanon, confirms that no one has bargained the interest of Lebanon.”
Asked whether he supported the continuation of armed resistance, Hariri said, “All these issues will be discussed calmly. What is important for me today is unanimity on all these points. What is important is that there is unanimity and that we are one word, one decision and one people for one country.”
“For the first time in the history of Lebanon, the Lebanese have sat down in this manner… the different political leaderships have sat down in one room and reached an agreement.”