Lebanon’s Geagea and Aoun must overcome barriers

Geagea and Aoun must today prove their ability to overcome what some consider as impossible

Nayla Tueni

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Lebanese Bishop Samir Mazloum said on Sunday that “Bkerké (the See of the Maronite Catholic Patriarchate) does not currently see the point of bringing Maronite leaders together to reach a positive decision regarding the presidential [elections],” adding that “although there’s communication between [Bkerké ] and these leaders on one hand and among these leaders themselves on another, issues are still complicated.” Mazloum voiced hope that any meeting which Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea holds with Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun yields positive results with regard to speeding up the process of holding presidential elections.

Since the quadrilateral meeting among Geagea, Aoun, Kataeb leader Amin Gemayel and Marada Movement leader Samir Franjieh is useless following several meetings which yielded no positive results, maybe bilateral dialogue can constitute a good start. This is the sort of dialogue which Christians await as they view it as a potentially historical event but the truth is further from that. Political disputes must not lead to the complete severance of relations among parties as alliances and interests are constantly shifting. The absence of communication and the grudge and maliciousness it’s accompanied with negatively reflects on the general political life in the country and particularly affects the Christians in need of security.

Christians’ aspirations

The Christians’ aspirations for such a meeting is due to the fact that they are aware of the magnitude of distance between the two men (Geagea and Aoun). They know well the negative repercussions of such a distance, especially amidst the presidential vacuum in Lebanon, the only Arab country where a Christian holds the presidential post.

But the truth is, aspirations must not be based on the upcoming meeting because both parties’ stances regarding the presidency are actually clear and each party is vetoing the other’s decision. This means that the results of the upcoming meeting - if held - will be limited to relieving the atmosphere among Christians with different political affiliations.

But there is fear that the Geagea-Aoun meeting will be a reaction to the dialogue between the Future Movement and Hezbollah and thus it would be synonymous withthe Sunni-Shiite dialogue. So if the latter kicks off, the same applies to the former. Or if the latter is obstructed, the former also gets obstructed as a result of the past which is full of bitter experiences between the two men.
Geagea and Aoun must today prove their ability to overcome what some consider as impossible.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on December 25, 2014.


Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni

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