Franjieh to Visit Baabda for First Time since Aoun’s Election

Franjieh to Visit Baabda for First Time since Aoun’s Election

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Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh’s participation in a Baabda meeting called for by President Michel Aoun is expected to receive significant media coverage on Thursday along with the key talks that will gather the leaders of the parties represented in government.

Franjieh and ten other leaders have received official invitations to take part in the meeting.

It will be the first time since Aoun’s election that the Marada chief visits the Baabda Palace. He had boycotted the binding parliamentary consultations to name a new premier as well as the latest presidential iftar banquet.

Ties between the former allies were strained after Prime Minister Saad Hariri nominated Franjieh for the presidency before eventually switching his endorsement to Aoun.

It was not immediately clear if a bilateral meeting will be held between Aoun and Franjieh, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on Monday, knowing that Franjieh had several times announced his readiness to visit the Baabda Palace should he receive an invitation from the president.

“A Franjieh-Aoun meeting hinges on the appropriate timing and circumstances and we will not analyze and make conclusions before the meeting happens, especially that it has to do with the personal relation between the two men,” Marada sources told al-Joumhouria.

“The outcome of the meeting would determine the subsequent course,” the sources noted.

Aoun’s unprecedented meeting with the political leaders is aimed at “discussing the previous phase and its obstacles as well as the upcoming phase and the means to reactivate the work of state institutions,” ad-Diyar newspaper has reported.

The conferees will “discuss the pending Taef Accord articles, especially in terms of abolishing political sectarianism as a prelude to creating a Senate,” ad-Diyar added.

They will also tackle “vital projects that need to be executed” and will address “the rifts that were caused by the electoral law” negotiations, the newspaper said.

“The president will put the leaders of the parties in the picture of his vision and reform ideas for the upcoming years of his tenure,” ad-Diyar added, noting that Speaker Nabih Berri “will contribute to President Aoun’s efforts.”

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