Lebanon – Jumblatt says mistake to bet on Syria crisis, urges Dialogue

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 MP Walid Jumblatt said in remarks published Saturday that it is a mistake to bet on the turnout of the crisis in Syria, urging rival groups to engage in Dialogue as the only means to find necessary solutions.

“We cannot do anything but get together without preconditions. We should not mistakenly bet on the [turnout] of Syrian events but we should direct our attention toward our joint national interest,” Jumblatt told As-Safir.

“It is a mistake to wait [for the turnout of Syrian crisis] because Syria will fall into the abyss,” he added.

His remarks came as President Michel Sleiman was expected to postpone for the second time the National Dialogue session scheduled for this week aimed at discussing the government crisis.

Future Movement and the Lebanese Forces are adamant sticking to their boycott of the National Dialogue session until the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Cabinet, which they blame for the assassination of a top intelligence chief in October of last year.

Jumblatt who has described himself as centrist and allied with Sleiman and Mikati said he adopted the logic of Dialogue since the May 7 2008 events when street clashes between pro and anti-government protesters erupted in Beirut after Hezbollah briefly took over part of the city in protest of the Cabinet’s decision to dismantle its own telecoms network.

“I have held the slogan of communications and dialogue and I still work by that logic which I have held since the May 7 event by stressing on the need to get together and hold talks to find needed solutions,” Jumblatt, head of the Progressive Socialist Party, said.

“I haven’t changed nor have I steered away from that logic but maybe others have; those need to know that there is no way at the end but to sit on the Dialogue table together,” he said.

He also criticized March 14 lawmakers for also boycotting legislative work attended by Cabinet ministers which the opposition used to add further pressure on Mikati to resign.

He said the opposition holds a double standard since they have boycotted Dialogue but agreed to sit with their rivals to resume discussion on a new electoral law.

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