Lebanese Forces chief Dr. Samir Geagea Monday said that the return of Syrian president Bashar Assad’s influence in Lebanon was a red line, in comments made after a mass for Maronite youth in Sydney, Australia.
“You must remember the bombings of Ashrafieh, Zahle, Tripoli, and who assassinated President Bachir Gemayel and the March 14 martyrs,” Geagea said.
Geagea seemed to implicitly comment on a move by some MPs and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to re-establish relations with the Syrian regime, saying “we will not allow the return of Syrian influence to Lebanon despite the large fraud currently underway.”
“Iran and Hezbollah have invested heavily in Assad and thus they will do the impossible to ensure his survival on the pretext of the displaced, whom if we really want to return, we should not talk to Assad,” Geagea said.
Instead of negotiation with Assad, Geagea said, “the solution is for the government to mobilize and talk with concerned countries to find better ways to return the displaced.”
He also implored his audience to vote in upcoming parliamentary elections.
“We are a great people, but we have to know how to exercise our greatness through a simple means – through the ballot box – so that we can achieve the desired change,” he said. “We do not ask for a change of all 128 MPs because this is almost impossible, but if we can change half it will be enough to move Lebanon from one place to another.”