Dissociate in deed
Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s wellbeing has now been established in a number of ways. The latest was a tweet in which he said his return to Lebanon was imminent.
This followed Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai’s comments from Riyadh that, during his visit to the kingdom, he has heard Saudi assertions at the highest level of the continuing amicable relationship between the two countries, praise for the Lebanese, and support for an independent, sovereign Lebanon.
Most efforts locally, regionally and internationally in pushing for Hariri’s safe return are now one step behind these developments.
With the prime minister’s arrival upon us, all efforts, at all levels, should now be focused on resolving the issue that prompted this crisis in the first place – ensuring Lebanon’s full implementation of the dissociation policy agreed upon in last year’s political settlement that saw Michel Aoun rise to the presidency and Hariri take on the prime ministership. This needs to be the main concern for senior Lebanese officials, who must work toward that goal in order to salvage the government, the country and our relationships with the rest of the Arab world, especially Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.
And while Hezbollah has urged calm during the crisis, it doesn’t bode well that in indirect response to this issue, a party source was quoted as saying: “Yes, we will dissociate ourselves from Nicaragua and North Korea.” Let’s hope this was said in jest. Hariri’s return needs to reignite serious dialogue on this issue, under the auspices of the president, and all parties must now bear their responsibilities – first and foremost toward the Lebanese people – and prove that their words are backed up by actions, and are not just letters written in the sand.