Samir Geagea defends Egypt’s stance on Hamas

“Egypt must be given its due,” stated Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Thursday during a press conference held in Paris. The conference, which comes on the heels of the Geagea’s meeting with President Mubarak in Cairo this week, saw the Lebanese Christian leader shower Egypt with praise while alluding to what he saw as the central role Egypt played in the Middle East.

“People forget the Egypt of Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak. They forget the Egypt of the 1973 war,” Geagea asserted.

Defending Egypt’s controversial stance towards the ruling Hamas government in Gaza, the Lebanese Forces leader asserted, “When the Palestinian Authority left Gaza so did Egypt.” Geagea, however, saw that Egypt should leave the Rafah border crossing open, stating “Rafah was opened in accordance with an international agreement to which Egypt was a party, and Egypt cannot violate this agreement.” He then proceeded to urge his party, the Lebanese Forces, not to participate in relief convoys being sent to Gaza, saying, “Egypt has a solution to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and we should listen to it.”

Asked about his opinion of the Arab Peace Initiative, Geagea criticized calls for its retraction, whether made “before or after the flotilla incident”. According to Geagea, by withdrawing the initiative, “we would be doing the Israeli government a tremendous service and allowing it to perpetuate the status quo indefinitely.”

When asked about Lebanese-Syrian relations and the influence of Iran in Lebanon, Geagea argued that Lebanon needed to be free of external influence. To support his point, he quoted the former Egyptian resident Gamal Abdel Nasser as saying, “Don’t touch Lebanon; Lebanon is special… don’t make it play a role that wasn’t written for it.”  

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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