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Hariri Shies Away from Calls for Normalizing Ties with Syria

Hariri Shies Away from Calls for Normalizing Ties with Syria

Wednesday, 20 February, 2019 - 08:15
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. AFP file photo
Beirut - Mohamed Choucair
The priorities of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in implementing projects that will enable his country get funds pledged at the CEDRE economic conference held in Paris last spring would not be affected by recent visits made by some officials to Damascus, ministerial sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday.

Hariri has been focusing on enabling Lebanon to benefit from decisions made at the CEDRE conference and therefore he would not heed political attempts to distract him from solving the country’s crises, the sources said.

Hariri believes that engaging in pointless arguments, particularly with parties loyal to the “resistance axis,” which constitutes an extension of Iran and the Syrian regime in Lebanon, would distract him from reviving Lebanon’s economy by clinching the benefits of CEDRE.

Some observers have wondered why the PM insists on not responding to ministers who believe that the crisis of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon can only be solved through normalization of ties with Damascus and direct dialogue with the regime in the neighboring state.

In answering those questions, ministerial sources rejected claims made by some parties that the failure to normalize relations with Syria would shun Lebanese companies from the war-torn country’s reconstruction process.

“Even some countries that were enthusiastic to reopen embassies in Damascus, have quickly delayed such moves after realizing that mending ties with the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar Assad, would not push him to break his alliance, even if gradually, with Iran,” the source said.

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