siniora with Amanpour in Cnn : Lebanon in the pocket of Assad
PM siniora with Amanpour in Cnn : Lebanon in the poket of assad
CNN: Fouad Siniora, thank you so much for joining me, let me ask you, are you calling for Mr. Mikati’s government to resign? And if so how do you
answer your western friends and even the president of Lebanon who say that would not be a good thing at the moment because it will plunge your country into further instability.
Siniora: I think the contrary completely.
CNN: are you calling for him to step down?
Sinora: yes, for sure. I’m asking this government, for the sake of the country…
At all actually, because the constitution gives the necessary measures to handle this situation, whereby a caretaker government, the present government will assume the caretaker government and then there will complete discussions under the patronage of the president in order to form a new government, which is a neutral government, and independent.
CNN: In that regard, as you know people have pointed the fingers of blame for this incident at the door of president Bachar El Assad, even the French foreign minister has said that while the investigation continues, it probably was that regime, he went on to say: the interest of Bachar El Assad, who is a manipulator, is to expand the contagion into turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. The fact that you’re now calling for the dissolution of the government, are you not playing into the very hand of Syria which wants to see instability in your country, turkey and elsewhere?
Siniora: Not at all, actually this government is in the hands of Syria and Iran at the same time. What we’re saying is that the best thing that can really guarantee stability in the country is to have a neutral government, otherwise this is something that will lead to the continuation of tension in the country and this by itself will play more in the hands of Syria.
CNN: You talked about how the government is not neutral, that it is sending arms, materials and other things to the regime of Bachar el Assad, but also some of the Sunni opposition is also helping the other side, the rebels, the uprising. This policy of disassociation that Lebanon has had, do you think it can continue or you’re being sucked into this war now?
Siniora: We are on record that we have asked some many times that the Lebanese army will deploy all along the Lebanese borders with Syria and we are still committed to this principle and even much more, we asked after all what has happened because of all the violations of the Lebanese borders and the trespassing on it and the Syrian regime army who has really been in Lebanon several times kidnapping people, killing people and bombarding the Lebanese territory,we have asked for the UNIFIL forces under the security council resolution 1701 to be extended towards the border of Lebanon with Syria.
CNN: Some analysts have suggested that Syria, the regime of Bachar El Assad is basically sending a message to you in Lebanon, to Prime Minister Erdogan in Turkey: stay out of this fight, leave it to me, and don’t get involved. In fact President Assad, last year said that this kind of intervention whether it’s on the ground or whether it is sending arms, is something that is going to divide the whole region. He said: any problem in Syria will burn the whole region. If the plan is to divide Syria, then it is to divide the whole region. My question to you: do you think Assad is sending a message to Lebanon and to Turkey, now that this conflict has spilled across both of your borders?
Siniora: Throughout the past several decades, all dictators in the Arab World, have been sending a clear message to everybody, to the people as well as to the international community that either you let me stay in office and do whatever I want or the other alternative is chaos or destruction and this is what they have practiced and as far as Lebanon is concerned, the same thing was done by the Syrian regime, throughout the past decades, and they are still continuing with their intimidation and threats to the international community so that they will try to be more lenient with the regime and to forgo even the principles, which are the principles calling for respect of human rights, respect of democracy, of freedom and so on, this is what they have been trying to do. What we are really asking from the international community is that we want them to continue to be faithful to their principles and to the values which they have been trying to raise throughout the past centuries, so this is what we really believe, that the regime in Syria would try its best in order to create a sedition within Syria and outside Syria and try to create a situation of instability everywhere. This intimidation and threat to the international community will continue and will subject the international community to its threat, irrespective.
CNN: So what do you see in this scenario for the immediate future, for Lebanon and for Syria?
Siniora: As far as Lebanon is concerned, what we believe is that we want to achieve real stability, not a fictitious one. We want a change in the government because all the indicators, I’m really talking “Christiane” on all indicators, whether economic, social, whether security, whether in terms of national unity and so on, this government has failed, it is practically dead, in the real sense of the word, and in order to guarantee stability, the best thing is to have a neutral government, we have been asking and suggesting to everybody that this is the best solution in order to save Lebanon from instabilities and from any attempt of the Syrian regime to create a sedition. On the other hand, as far as Syria is concerned, we believe that the Syrian people are the ones who can really know what is best for them and we don’t want to interfere in the domestic affairs of Syria, irrespective. This is our position. This does not mean that we cannot express our opinion freely, this is a free country and this is a democracy and we have to respect these rules but we don’t want to interfere in the domestic affairs of Syria. They know what is best for them and we don’t want to really put ourselves in such a situation.
CNN: finally, you speak quite vociferously against them, you’ve seen what happened in your country and you blame them for it, are you not afraid for your own life?
Siniora: Well, definitely, the risks are high but let me put it this way, I am a believer and I know that irrespective of all the precautions that one can take, if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.