Boukhari: France has assured us that there will be no intention to modify the Taif agreement

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon, Walid Boukhari, said on Saturday that France has assured him that “there will be no intention or proposal to modify the Taif agreement” of 1989, which made it possible to put an end to 15 years of civil war in Lebanon, in statements made during a conference in Beirut to which a panoply of personalities were invited.

During this conference held at the UNESCO Palace on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the conclusion of Taif, the diplomat underlined “the interest of Saudi Arabia and its authorities in the preservation of security, unity and stability in Lebanon, and the preservation of the Taif agreement”.

This meeting comes two weeks after the failure of a dinner at the Swiss embassy to which representatives of the main Lebanese political groups were invited. This invitation had revived the memory of the conferences of Geneva and Lausanne, in 1983 and 1984, which had led to a decision to create a commission in charge of revising the Constitution, a body which ultimately did not see the light of day. The dinner will eventually be canceled after Saudi protests and boycott announcements from MPs, including those from the Lebanese Forces (FL), close to Riyadh, who saw it as an attempt to overturn the Taif accord in order to produce a new Political system. Saturday’s Saudi initiative is part of a series of efforts in this direction for several months.

“Definitive character of the Lebanese entity”

“The French president has assured us that there will be no intention or proposal to modify this agreement,” Boukhari said. “We desperately need to achieve living together and the preservation of Lebanon’s identity and Arabness”, he added, stressing that “the Taif agreement preserves the final character of the Lebanese entity, its identity and its Arabness”, and noting that “another solution will only lead the country even further into the unknown”.

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The outgoing Prime Minister, Nagib Mikati, affirmed for his part, on the sidelines of this conference, that the Taif agreement “remains the most valid agreement”. According to him, this initiative proves that “Saudi Arabia has not abandoned Lebanon”. The representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Lebanon, Joanna Wronecka, considered that “the Taif agreement guarantees the stability of Lebanon”.

FL MP Ghassan Hasbani, for his part, called on Parliament to “take the necessary measures to implement the Taif agreement”, considering that the country is facing “a pivotal opportunity to confirm the implementation of the agreement”. The Free Patriotic Movement (CPL, aouniste), of Gebran Bassil and rival of the FL, has always opposed the Taif agreement, believing that it reduces the prerogatives of the President of the Maronite Republic to the benefit of the Prime Minister. Sunni and the Council of Ministers together.

Elect a new president

Speaking at the meeting, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said that “what is most important today is to elect a president who believes in the Taif agreement, watches over the return to this agreement and work to ensure that it becomes a constant and is properly implemented”.

Same story on the side of the Druze leader and leader of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Walid Jumblatt, who felt that “what is most important is to elect a president”. “Currently, the great battle is not over the prerogatives of the president which are clear in politics and in the Constitution. The problem lies in the election of a president and the subsequent formation of a credible government which initiates the reforms required to start implementing an economic and financial bailout,” he said. He also considered that “before examining any modification of the agreement, we must apply it to abolish political sectarianism”.

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Berry succeeds in his balancing act

Lebanon is experiencing, for the first time in its history, a double vacancy at the level of the Executive. Michel Aoun’s mandate ended on October 31 when Parliament failed, during four sessions, to elect a new head of state. The outgoing cabinet of Mr. Mikati resigned last May following the legislative elections and can only manage current affairs. A political standoff had opposed MM. Mikati to Mr. Aoun, who considered that an outgoing cabinet could not exercise the functions of a president in the event of a vacancy in the highest office.

Ex-MP Bahia Hariri apologized for her absence from the ceremony, according to al-Jadeed TV, as relations between her nephew, former prime minister and leader of the Future Movement Saad Hariri and the Wahhabi kingdom have deteriorated in recent years.

Since Saad Hariri’s withdrawal from political life at the beginning of this year, the Sunni community has been split. While some see it as a sign of democratic vitality, others believe that in the absence of a Sunni leader, the community is weakened and cannot influence key events such as the presidential election or a possible national dialogue. It is in this context that Mr. Boukhari invited to this conference, which is part of a series of efforts in this direction for several months. The mufti of the Republic, Abdellatif Deriane, for example, organized a meeting in Dar el-Fatwa, on September 24, of the 27 deputies of his community, with the blessing of the Saudi embassy, ​​while the showdown between MM. Aoun and Mikati took a confessional turn. France is also closely involved in the Lebanese file, especially since the explosion of August 4, 2020 at the port of Beirut.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Lebanon, Walid Boukhari, said on Saturday that France assured him that “there will be no intention or proposal to modify the Taif agreement” of 1989, which made it possible to put an end to 15 years of civil war in Lebanon, in statements made during a conference in Beirut to which a panoply of personalities were invited. During…

Boukhari: France has assured us that there will be no intention to modify the Taif agreement