Hariri: Syria should stop the killing machine
Davutoglu: The Arab initiative is also ours, and we will defend it and monitor its implementation23-12-2011
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri held talks today with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the Turkish Prime Minister’s office in Ankara. The talks focused on the developments in the region, especially the Syrian crisis after the signing of the Arab League initiative.
The Head of the Turkish-Lebanese Friendship Parliamentary Committee, MP Nouhad Machnouk, former MP Bassem Sabeh, Mr Nader Hariri and advisor Mohammed Chatah attended part of the talks.
After the talks, Minister Davutoglu spoke to reporters and said:
“First of all, allow me to welcome our dear guest, brother and friend, Saad Hariri, with whom we have always had a long relationship, as a political leader in Lebanon when he was in power, as well as a personal relationship. And he is most welcome in his home in Turkey any time.
Today the region is witnessing very important changes, and that is why we need to consult. I would like to express my gratitude for this opportunity that allowed us to share our views on all subjects, first during our bilateral meeting, and then with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
There are historic changes in the region and we all know that the course of history is moving in the direction of achieving the people’s demands. In North Africa and Tunisia, elections were held, and in Libya the process of change continues, as well as in Egypt. Now is the right time for the Syrian people to achieve their goals of democracy and transparency”.
Question: How do you assess the situation in Syria after the signing of the Protocol?
Davutoglu: As you know, Turkey has supported the Arab League initiative and I personally participated in the meetings of the League in Cairo and Morocco during the preparation of this initiative. There has been a mechanism of consultation between Turkey and the Arab League, and we support its initiative. The protocol in itself has several important dimensions, including sending observers and releasing prisoners and we hope that all the initiative will succeed, and Turkey will do its best to help this initiative succeed. In fact, this initiative is also ours, and we will support and defend it and monitor its implementation.
But unfortunately, I would like to point out again that even after the signing of the Protocol, hundreds of Syrians have been killed and this is unacceptable. The signing of the protocol means readiness to cooperate and work with the Arab League. The Arab League’s mission is to stop the bloodshed and this is the main and urgent task, but even after the signing, the killing continues, and we will follow this matter closely and continue to consult with the Secretary General of the League Nabil al-Arabi, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem in addition to other members of the Arab League.
Tomorrow, the first group of observers will head to Syria, and Turkey will be at the disposal of the Arab League, to satisfy any request and we will work together, and we hope that these massacres will stop, not as quickly as possible but immediately.
For his part PM Hariri said:
“First I would like to thank the Prime Minister and minister Davutoglu for receiving us in Turkey, and for their hospitality. We discussed all the developments taking place in the region, especially in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. We certainly have a clear view regarding what is happening in Lebanon and Syria.
With regards to what is happening in Syria, after the signing of the Arab League Protocol, the killing machine accelerated. And as Minister Davutoglu said, signing the initiative means signing all its clauses, including those related to stopping the killing and releasing all detainees. Only then will there actually be positive steps, but we don’t see these steps.”
Question: But there was a kind of consensus to consider this step as positive…
Hariri: The positivity was based on the fact that a credible state signed an Arab initiative. But the problem is that some, including Minister Walid Muallem, said that the signing only involved the clause related to the observers. But what will the observers observe? They will observe the end of the killings and the violence, and the release of the detainees and prisoners. In this sense, I think Syria should stop this killing machine. Also, Prince Saud al-Faisal clearly said during the Gulf Cooperation Summit, that this signing is not confined to the observers but concerns all clauses of the Arab initiative.
Question: Regarding Lebanese affairs, what do you think of the proposed electoral law?
Hariri: We will discuss the issue with our allies and we will have a clear stance about it.
Question: What kind of results should one expect, in the presence of a party in control of power in Lebanon through the force of arms?
Hariri: My position is clear and explicit regarding the weapons. Some are calling today for “Beirut free of weapons” and I say that all Lebanon should be under the control of the State and the Lebanese Army, in cooperation with all political parties. Everyone should know that this country is for all of us and no party can intimidate or cancel the others. We are all Lebanese and we all have to live together and I hope that this will be achieved.
Question: But don’t you think that this requires dialogue?
Hariri: It requires the implementation of the Taef Accord.