For the first time since the signing of the Mar Mkhayel Agreement in 2006, a dispute emerged between former President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and Hezbollah.
The conflict between the two sides was publicly announced in the media on Monday, following the participation of Hezbollah’s ministers in a cabinet meeting called for by caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati to make some “emergency” decisions.
The FPM, which had announced its boycott of the session, strongly criticized the party, saying that its participation in the ministerial meeting has “shaken” the Mar Mkhayel agreement.
In a press conference, the head of the FPM, MP Gebran Bassil, said: “Our problem is with the truthful ones who reneged on the agreement, the promise and the guarantee,” hinting at Hezbollah.
The party responded, in a statement on Thursday, saying that the FPM’s behavior as “unwise and inappropriate.”
“We don’t want to engage into a debate with any of our friends, although much of what was mentioned in Minister Bassil’s words needs discussion. We find ourselves concerned with clarifying two issues for the public opinion. The first is that Hezbollah did not make a promise to anyone that the caretaker government would not meet until all its components agreed to meet, so that Minister Bassil would consider that the government meeting that took place is a breach of the promise,” the statement read.
It added: “The language of treachery… especially among friends, is unwise and inappropriate behavior. Our concern for friendship… remains the basis of our dealings with any reaction, especially since Lebanon today is in dire need of communication, dialogue and internal discussion… to overcome difficult crises…”
On Thursday, the two parties tried to mitigate the impact of the crisis, when Hezbollah’s MP, Ali Fayyad, said: “We are not engaging into a discussion about the future of the relationship with the FPM.”
Other signs pointed to an attempt to mend the relations, including a meeting between Hezbollah MPs Ali Ammar and Hassan Fadlallah, with FPM MPs Bassil and Ghassan Atallah.