International News

    Aoun launches dissociation consultations

    BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun held a series of consultations at Baabda Palace Monday to discuss Lebanon’s dissociation policy, meeting with one of Hezbollah’s parliamentary representatives, among other political figures.
    The president kicked off the day of consultations by meeting with Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, the state-run National News Agency reported. “I conveyed [Amal’s] position … our commitment to the dissociation policy and the need for Cabinet to resume its work,” Khalil said, according to NNA.
    Aoun later met with MP Mohammad Raad, who represents Hezbollah’s Loyalty to the Resistance bloc. Raad said afterwards that the president’s views regarding Lebanon and those of Loyalty to the Resistance “are identical” and “we agreed to return to work and ensure Lebanon’s protection, stability, and independence.”
    Public Works and Transport Minister Youssef Fenianos and former Telecommunications Minister Nicholas Sehnaoui also visited Baabda to meet with the president.
    “We are committed to the dissociation policy,” Fenianos said following his meeting, “and we consider President Aoun or any party’s effort to resolve the crisis as reflective of their national unity.”
    Aoun also met with Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel, local media reported.
    The meetings at the presidential palace came as part of a day of consultations the president was set to hold with Lebanese leaders, political rivals, and heads of blocs and parties in the government, to discuss the country’s official policy of dissociation from regional conflicts.
    The intended result of these consultations – a renewed commitment to the dissociation policy – is seen as being essential to reviving the role of the government, following Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s decision to suspend his resignation.
    Hariri announced his decision to step down on Nov. 4 while in Riyadh, citing Iranian over-reach and Hezbollah’s involvement in regional conflicts.
    Although he postponed his resignation on Nov. 22, Hariri has continued to press for adherence to the dissociation policy.
    Aoun will meet with Hariri and Speaker Nabih Berri at the end of the day to brief them on the outcome of his consultations, which will reportedly attempt to outline and explain the rules of dissociation to the various parties.