Clashes in Lebanon not Syria-linked: ex-premier

Clashes in Lebanon not Syria-linked: ex-premier

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Clashes in Lebanon not Syria-linked: ex-premier

FM Davutoğlu (R) welcomes former Lebanese PM Siniora in Ankara in this file photo. Both discussed the Syrian crisis and Turkey’s relations with Arab countries. AA photo

Former Prime Minister of Lebanon and Future Movement parliamentary bloc leader Fouad Siniora said there is a determined effort on the part of some trying to magnify clashes in the Lebanese city of Tripoli and divert attention from what is happening in Syria to Lebanon.

“Some people are trying to say that the fundamentalist groups or extremist Islamic groups are really in control in Tripoli and that these are an extension of what is happening in Syria. This is a misrepresentation of the situation in Syria, as well as in Lebanon,” Siniora told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview on 18 May.

Siniora attended the Istanbul World Political Forum held on May 18. Speaking to the Daily News on the sidelines of the conference, he said things were much better now in Tripoli following the deployment of the Lebanese army.

‘Hezbollah takes a clear position’
“Some skirmishes are taking place, but it doesn’t mean that clashes are continuing in Tripoli. Now it is over, but one has to make every effort in order to put the army in a position of control.

There is no possibility of the situation coming back to normal in any part of Lebanon if the authority of the state is continuously being challenged by certain groups using weapons here and there,” Siniora said. Siniora also said that during his meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on May 17 the two had exchanged views on Syria and Turkey’s relations with Arab countries.

Siniora said Lebanon shared the same view as Turkey in terms of giving the necessary diplomatic support to the uprising in Syria, giving the necessary humanitarian support and trying to build up a universal position that can lead toward the Syrian people regaining their freedom. “Hezbollah in Lebanon has taken a clear position in support of the Syrian regime. We don’t share this. We believe Syrians are looking for their freedom. This doesn’t mean that we are taking part in what is happening in Syria by extending assistance them in terms of weapons and in terms of the people. However, I think Syrians are the people who can really decide what they want and they can really determine what is their future,” Siniora said.