Caretaker Information Minister Ziad Al-Makary affirmed that France did not abandon its initiative of having Marada Movement Chief Sleiman Franjieh as President of the Republic and Nawaf Salam as Prime Minister, stressing that “if France had abandoned its initiative, Franjieh would have been the first to be informed of this matter.”
He continued, “France’s initiative is not limited to Sleiman Franjieh, as it is said, for France does not work in this manner, but rather in a national and inclusive way.”
“The French are interested in Lebanon for historical and emotional reasons, and France is the only country that can speak with Iran, Saudi Arabia and various countries,” Makary said in an interview with LBCI Channel yesterday evening.
He hoped that “the outside would not interfere in the presidential elections,” pointing out that “the French envoy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, came to Lebanon as a special envoy from French President Emmanuel Macron, where he met with all parties in order to find solutions.”
“Everyone knows that the Lebanese situation is complicated,” Makary asserted, considering that we will not reach the election of a president without dialogue.
Referring to Franjieh’s candidacy for presidency, Makary considered that the latter is capable of speaking with the Syrians and agreeing with them on many dossiers, most prominently the borders, smuggling, demarcation, and the issue of the displaced. “It is not true that 90% of the Lebanese oppose Franjieh’s accession to the presidency, and Franjieh is not the candidate of the Shiite duo, and his approach existed before the Taif Agreement, i.e. before the existence of the so-called duo,” Makary went on to underline, noting that “there is no Christian consensus over Jihad Azour, as a third of the Christian deputies did not vote for him, and he himself sought to secure the Shiite duo’s support for his candidacy!”
Makary deemed that Franjieh has three main pillars to his presidential candidacy, namely the economic aspect, the issue of the displaced, and the defense strategy, adding, “Sleiman Franjieh does not stab anyone in the back, neither the resistance nor the opposition team…”
On another level, the Information Minister considered that “the country is collapsing economically and socially, and it is a disaster if the government does not meet in light of the presidential vacuum.” He addressed the Christian parties who object to the meetings of the caretaker government, saying, “Go ahead and elect a president!”
Asked about the condition of the Lebanese Television, Makary considered that the most difficult task in the Ministry of Information is the Tele-Liban dossier, saying: “We were faced with two options, either closing the TV and depriving dozens of families of their livelihood, or continuing to work….There is no third solution to the Lebanon TV crisis, either it closes or persists!” He added that the TV’s monthly budget is $15,000, saying, “I received an in-debt and looted TV!”
Makary continued to affirm that he operates within the framework of the law in an attempt to ensure the TV’s continuity, adding that he is working to restore sectarian balance within the TV Station like in many other areas of the state.
He concluded, “If the Ministry of Information portfolio is offered to me again, I am ready to assume the responsibility.”