BEIRUT – Lebanese Forces head Samir Geagea issued a statement Wednesday calling President Michel Aoun’s call for an “urgent national dialogue” a “waste of precious time,” citing a perceived impossibility of reaching a consensus on the issues to be discussed and prioritizing instead reconvening the cabinet, the state-run National News Agency reported.
Here’s what we know:
• Geagea’s statement considered that the issues to be discussed were “not relevant to the daily struggles the Lebanese face due to the crises in the country,” adding that the country’s current climate is not fruitful for their discussion, considering that “under usual circumstances a consensus could not be reached.”
• The Lebanese Forces leader also considered that the priority should be accorded to “assuring the country’s cabinet reconvenes and alleviates the burden faced by citizens until the elections.” The government has not met since Oct. 12 when a disagreement over the course of the Aug. 4 Beirut port blast investigation halted the session.
• Geagea said that the “thousands of hours” invested into similar dialogue initiatives have led to the country’s current circumstances, highlighting the lack of tangible impact made by the Baabda declaration, issued in 2012 under former President Michel Sleiman’s mandate.
• President Michel Aoun had called in late December for a national dialogue to be held to address the issues of the country’s defense strategy, a widened decentralization of its administration and finances, and an economic recovery plan.
• Geagea’s dismissal of Aoun’s call for national dialogue joins similar opposition from former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and the Future Movement, the Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt, and Sleiman Frangieh, head of the Marada Movement. However, Hezbollah and other political actors reputedly allied with Aoun have favorably answered the call for a dialogue.