SAT 21 - 7 - 2018
Apr 9, 2018
The Daily Star
Assad sole political representative of Syria: Aoun
BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun said Sunday that Lebanon should “engage with” the Syrian regime as the sole authority in Syria, as the civil war in the country continues into its eighth year.
“Bashar Assad is currently the president of his country,” Aoun said in an interview with members of French news media at Baabda Palace, according to a statement released by his press office. “We must engage with the existing government - we have no other choice,” he said, responding to a question about Assad’s political future.
The interview with Aoun was published a day after Assad’s forces reportedly carried out a chemical attack in the eastern suburbs of Damascus that killed at least 80 people in one of the last remaining opposition-held districts of the Syrian capital. Aoun made no mention of the chemical attack in Sunday’s statement.
Aoun added that “Lebanese-Syrian relations are limited, but as long as President Assad remains in power, we recognize him.”
“There is no other representative of Syria,” Aoun said.
Aoun also fielded questions on a number of other issues, including the $11 billion in funds gathered at Friday’s CEDRE conference in Paris - funds that Aoun stressed would help Lebanon with a number of economic woes, including hosting more than 1 million Syrian refugees. “The Syrian refugees can return [home],” he added, “as the military confrontations are confined to small, specific areas.”
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