Dis­so­ci­ate in deed

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - OPINION -

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.

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