“Hezbollah Interests Prevented Me from Closing the Borders… And Frangieh is Right” Said Hariri Regarding Smuggling Scandals.

سعد الحريري
The Syrian market is important, but what it’s within a legal framework... to transform our own economy to a Syrian economy is not acceptable.

Following the Hezbollah sponsored smuggling scandal across the Lebanese-Syrian borders, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri commented: “The Syrian market is important, but what it’s within a legal framework… to transform our own economy to a Syrian economy is not acceptable.”

He added: “The leader of the Marada Movement, Suleiman Franjieh, is an honest man. I was actually unable to close down the borders due to strong overpowering interests between the Syrians and those working for them that include Hezbollah.”

Hariri asked: “Since CEDRE is the way out, and now they admit as much, why was it obstructed and ignored?” He then answered: “We did not commit to CEDRE until the catastrophe befell. The funds pledged were around $11bn; today it is much less… Those who obstructed the implementation of the CEDRE reforms when I was Prime Minister are in themselves against reforms.”

While chatting with media reporters he added: “I do not want to criticize for the sake of criticism, but it seems to me that every member in the government is speaking in opposition to the rest; especially when it comes to parties. Everyone is saying something different in regards of the economic plan… The problem is the approach, you cannot claim that demand CEDRE while opposing the GULF and the entire international society. This issue rests in part on Hezbollah and in another on the Free Patriotic Movement who are embarrassing the Lebanese people with their handling of external affairs.”

Hariri said remorsefully: “At a time the country is in great struggle, we still see officials at press conferences calling for the rights of Christians. However, we are all Lebanese; how long must we keep speaking of the rights of each sect separately?”

He concluded by saying: “It’s true, as the president of the Free Patriotic Movement Gibran Bassil said, the problem dates back to 1974 and I say to 1988. He should stop taking us back in time, because I can take him back even further. Why hasn’t an electricity regulation committee been designated? Or even a board?” Hariri stressed: “We must be realistic while negotiating with the IMF and the road ahead of us is a long-winded.”

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