It appears that the President of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, had a telephone conversation with his Syrian partner, Bashar al-Assad.

This is remarkable because since the beginning of the war in Syria, only the Russian President, Vladamir Putin and the President of South Ossetia, Anatoli Bibilov, have had official contacts at this level with the Syrian Arab Republic.

Most states in the world consider that the war in Syria is a “civil war” whereas Russia and South Ossetia have declared that it is aggression by foreign powers, executed on the ground by jihadists.

In June 2012, various Lebanese parties concluded the Declaration of Baabda [1] by which they undertook not to allow Lebanese institutions to intervene in the war. This poses a problem as the signatory parties are themselves engaged there: the first to intervene was the Courant du Futur (Hariri) on the side of the jihadists and then much later, the Hezbollah on the side of Damas.

As for President Michel Aoun, he considers that following the Putin-Trump Summit of Helsinki (16 July 2018), the policy of “backing off” can no longer be justified. Thus the Lebanese President would therefore be in a position to recognize the victory of President Bashar al-Assad and to negotiate directly with him for the refugees to return and for the normalization of Syrian-Lebanese relations.

On the contrary, the other Lebanese political leaders who considered the Trump’s presidency as a “passing mishap” and the Helsinki Summit as a failure, achieving nothing, are still faithful to the Declaration of Baabda thought up by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the evening before the first Geneva Conference.

Translation
Anoosha Boralessa

[1] “Baabda Declaration”, Voltaire Network, 11 June 2012.