Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri snubbed on Friday former foreign minister Gebran Bassil and the Free Patriotic Movement, drawing attention to the fall of the political settlement with Aoun that led to Michel Aoun's election in 2016.
During a speech that Hariri delivered at the ceremony commemorating, late PM Rafik Hariri, his father's 15th assassination anniversary, he launched an attack on Bassil in which he accused him and his party of the economic crisis drowning Lebanon.
“You wasted half of the presidential term and registered collapse in the country in your name. Congratulations,” Hariri blamed during his speech at his Downtown Beirut residence.
He explained that he and Aoun had a mutual respect but that he had to discuss matters with Bassil before a solution was agreed on in many political issues, as if he had “to deal with two presidents.”
The former premier noted that taking part in the settlement was circumstantial at the backdrop of the Syrian civil war and the influx of refugees to Lebanon and to protect the country from a civil war.
“The popular movement [of October 17] has become a partner in the political decision-making process,” he said, denoting protesters’ role in calling for real and peaceful change.
“The Future Movement and I back holding early parliamentary elections as I had previously mentioned on October 17 at the Baabda Palace,” he stressed.
Hariri also denounced Iran and its regional policies, touching on its proxy in Lebanon.
"Iran's cash payments solve one political party's problem, not a country's," Hariri said.
Rafik Hariri was assassinated in a massive car bomb explosion in Beirut in 2005 with 21 others and injuring countless bystanders.
Following Hariri's scathing speech, Bassil retorted that their paths would cross again in the future as national interest will reunite them but that the way back “will be longer much more difficult for Hariri” than his.
“Whatever you do or say, you cannot touch us ... and I won’t accept to be like you,” Bassil said.