Damascus: Jumblat can visit Syria as Lebanese citizen, but not officially
Syria-Lebanon, Politics, 11/8/2000
In a step reflecting the extent of the Syrian upset from stances advocated by Lebanese parliamentarian Walid Junblat, well-informed Syrian sources said on Tuesday a measure which states to deprive the chairman of the Socialist Progressive Party and members of his party from all privileges and licenses that permit their entry to the Syrian territories. A matter which means that Junblat is " persona non grata" at the official level in Syria and that he can visit Syria like any other Lebanese citizen.
According to the text of the statement circulated by well-informed Syrian sources there " is no official Syrian decision nor a border notification that prevent Junblat's entry to Syria and that he can come to Syria at any time like any Lebanese citizen."
The Lebanese officials received the content of this decision which was also informed to Junblat through indirect contact channels. The explanation for the Syrian statement found explanation later in the statement released by the regional leadership of the Baath party in Lebanon which held an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday and discussed the " suspicious background for certain statements which criticized the Syrian presence in Lebanon."
In this respect, Lebanese politicians who have contacts with Damascus said that " Damascus has found itself obliged to take this measure which is considered a 'psychological shock' after Junblat continued to make statements which serves only Israel."
At the direct political level, Walid Junblat's efforts was directed towards trying to explain his position. Under complete silence from the side of the Lebanese prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri who is greatly embarrassed, minister Ghazi al-Aridi went to speaker of parliament Nabih berri asking him to exert " good offices ."
After Berri explained his strong objection over Junblat recent stances, especially his statement at the parliament, promised to try to " explain" these stances and that Junblat intended out of these statements in contrary to what was understood, which were for the good of the foes and that he is careful to maintain his relations with Syria and every thing that ensures peace in Lebanon.
However, sources close to Junblat stressed that the chairman of the Socialist Progressive Party ( Junblat) did not call for the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon, rather called for the redeployment of this army according to Taif agreement and that accusations addressed to him caused him great harm.
The statement recalled Junblat's record " in which he offered sacrifices and blood beside the Syrian army especially during the Israeli al-Bashiri ( Bashir al-Gemayal) era when Damascus stood together with Damascus as a fighter to foil the May 17 accord."
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