| 24 May 2024, Friday |

The Presidential “jogging” to restore relations with Saudi Arabia


Thursday, an anchorman resigns from OTV, a tv station, which speaks for the Free Patriotic Movement, which is run by the president’s son-in-law, Roy Al-Hashem

Friday: Advisor to the President, Salim Jreissati, visits the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Bukhari, as a presidential delegate by the President of the Republic.

What is the relationship between the two news?

The presenter’s resignation came as a result of receiving remarks from the chairman of the board of directors of the station because his guest attacked Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince.

At first, the reason for this sudden keenness of the station on Lebanon’s relationship with the Kingdom,was not known. As more than once its guests attacked its leaders, but what happened the next day created an explanation for the station’s sudden behavior by refusing to attack the kingdom

On the next day, that is, Friday, the advisor to the President of the Republic, Salim Jreissati, visited the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon Walid Bukhari, as a presidential envoy, and he made sure that the meeting was secretly far from media, but its disclosure by a newspaper on Saturday morning put the presidential palace circles in a state of confusion. It can neither deny it, because it is true, nor able to confirm it because it will be in a critical position vis-à-vis Hezbollah.

Why did the Lebanese presidency decide to open a new page with the Kingdom?

When the Aramco facilities were attacked, and Gebran Bassil was the Foreign Minister then, he declared: “I cannot, on the basis of the principle of self-distancing, condemn the attack on a facility in Saudi Arabia.” This stance left a profound impact on officials in the Kingdom, who considered that their leadership had never been stingy in extending a helping hand to Lebanon. Is this their reward?

Prior to that, more than one banner insulting the kingdom was hung, and investigations showed that it was committed by members of the movement or by  supporters .

A series of accumulations between the kingdom and the covenant, reflected by the coldness between the presidency of the republic and the Saudi embassy in Lebanon, and when the Saudi ambassador returned to Lebanon, he held a series of meetings with diplomats and visited spiritual references, then visited the head of the Lebanese Forces Party, Samir Geagea, and met a number of politicians at the embassy. Thus the presidency realized that it was supposed to take the initiative and dispatched Counselor Salim Jreissati to meet with the ambassador, in an attempt to re-pave the road between the embassy and the palace.

The question here is: Why did the President choose his advisor, Salim Jreissati, who is very close to Hezbollah, to be his envoy to the Saudi embassy? Is it to make  the party confortable ? Or to deliver a message to it that rapprochement with Saudi Arabia will not come at the expense of their understanding?

It is still too early to answer these questions, but what is certain is that this duality in attitudes will maintain a state of suspiciontowards the covenant that does not want to leave the approach of “a win,win situation”.