BEIRUT — The Free Patriotic Movement will participate in the dialogue proposed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to end the presidential election deadlock on the condition that the dialogue concludes with "open sessions of Parliament" until a president is elected, the party announced on Tuesday.
"The FPM conditions its participation in the dialogue on the assurance that it will conclude with open sessions of Parliament for the election of a president, without interruption until this election is achieved, "said a statement from the party.
"The FPM expects the initiators of this dialogue to provide the necessary answers to determine its final position."
Berri called ending the presidential deadlock "in September" and for "everyone, without exception" to participate in the dialogue. Lebanon has been without a president since the end of Michel Aoun's term on Oct. 31, 2022.
For the FPM, this dialogue "should be pragmatic, effective, and non-traditional...and could take various forms, bilateral or multilateral. Its agenda should be limited to the presidential term program, qualifications, and the name of the president."
While Berri's initiative has been welcomed by Hezbollah and the FPM, it has been criticized by the opposition.
Additionally, the FPM has warned against "the arrival of a new wave of displaced people in Lebanon from Syria due to the difficult economic situation in that country." "This wave of displacement is purely economic. Therefore, the state should not welcome them," the statement adds. The FPM called on the "government and relevant security authorities to completely close the borders, including legal and illegal crossings, to prevent the entry of any displaced persons."
"Any failure in this regard holds those responsible accountable for committing a national crime against Lebanon," it concludes.
According to official estimates, Lebanon hosts two million Syrian refugees, with nearly 830,000 registered with the UN. The fate of these refugees is a contentious issue in a country facing a severe economic and political crisis. The government regularly calls for their repatriation, and several ministers have recently visited Damascus to discuss this matter.