Lebanese Minister Fears Military Developments on Southern Border Could Impede Elections

Lebanese Minister Fears Military Developments on Southern Border Could Impede Elections

Wednesday, 14 February, 2018 - 08:45
Lebanese Minister of State for Planning Affairs Michel Pharaon. PHOTO: National News Agency
Beirut- Youssef Diab
Lebanese Minister of State for Planning Affairs Michel Pharaon warned on Tuesday that the latest military developments on the southern border with Israel could undermine the parliamentary elections scheduled for May 6.

“Any military development at the border could greatly affect the upcoming elections,” Pharaon said in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat.

The minister said possible destabilizing events in Lebanon demonstrate prove, more than ever, the need for a Lebanese military defense strategy, which limits the decision of war and peace to the Lebanese state.

Pharaon pointed out that the recent developments in the South, whether through Israel's construction of the separation wall, or its threat to oil block 9 located in Lebanese waters, are not the first among Israeli threats or aggression, but they are the latest in a series of crimes by the southern neighbor.

The minister placed the visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Beirut on Thursday in the framework of finding a mechanism to solve both issues.

“The international community is strongly attached to Lebanon’s stability and is keen on protecting our sovereignty. There are clear US assurances in this regard,” he said.

Commenting on events in Syria, Pharaon said that the latest developments signal a confrontation, which is not only limited to the Syrian territories.

“There is a real concern that the fighting could spread to the Lebanese territories.”

The minister said the latest military developments justify the demands of some Lebanese officials, calling for the need to agree on a clear defense military strategy.

“In the absence of such strategy, forces outside the state (such as Hezbollah) could mobilize their fighters as part of the upcoming confrontation,” he said.

The minister also raised the issue of internal fears caused by the absence of a clear vision that defines future progress on the ground.

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