Hariri Not Informed of Bassil’s Efforts to Invite Syria to Economic Summit in Beirut

Hariri Not Informed of Bassil’s Efforts to Invite Syria to Economic Summit in Beirut

Saturday, 5 January, 2019 - 09:15
Lebanon's caretaker interior minister visits the Maronite patriarch. Dalati and Nohra photo
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat
Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri rejects efforts exerted by caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil to invite the Syrian regime to the 2019 Arab Economic Summit expected in Beirut at the end of January, sources from al-Mustaqbal Movement told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Hariri has not been informed of Bassil’s efforts and does not approve them,” the sources said.

On Friday, Bassil’s stances resounded calls made by the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition on inviting the regime of Bashar Assad to the summit.

After his visit to Bkirki to meet with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, Bassil said: “Lebanon will host an Arab economic summit… It is not healthy for Syria not to attend it.”

A day earlier, Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Bassil has discussed Syria’s attendance with several Arab states, which informed him that the issue should be postponed until next March, when the Arab League summit is expected to be held in Tunis.

Like other anti-Assad factions in Lebanon, Hariri’s al-Mustaqbal Movement asserted that the Arab League, and not Beirut, is entitled to decide on the invitations.

“Hariri believes that Lebanon is not the side responsible for addressing invitations for the economic summit. Any invitation requires a decision from the Arab League,” the sources said.

“It is up to the Arab League to decide on Syria's invitation to the summit,” Caretaker Interior Minister Nohad al-Mashnouk also said Friday following a meeting with Rahi.

In 2011, the Arab League suspended Syria's membership.

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