The Head of the Future Parliamentary Bloc MP Saad Hariri said that his first visit to Moscow came after an earlier invitation and a generous response from President Vladimir Putin, stressing that "an atmosphere of understanding permeated the meeting" with the Russian president, who received the Lebanese MP in Sochi resort town, last week.
MP Hariri pointed out, in an interview with "al Raii al Aam" Kuwaiti newspaper, that the meeting which lasted more than two hours long, "tackled a large array of issues concerning Lebanon and the situation in the Middle East." And he said that: "We talked about all the issues that President Putin and we needed to discuss. We were not surprised by the understanding Russian position about Lebanon. The Russian positions towards the Arabs were always clear, and Lebanese issue and the assassination of PM Rafik Hariri, I had no doubt that the Russian leadership was very understanding to the scope and consequences of the crime." MP Hariri added: "Russia has voted with all the UN SC Resolutions, starting with UNSC 1595 and the rest. Even those on which Russia abstained, it asked for their full implementation, the fact that assures us of the sincerity of its position. In Lebanon we are interested in the implementation of all international resolutions and the respect of the international legality, whether concerning Lebanese issues, the Middle East and the whole world."
MP Hariri denied that he asked Russia to pressure Syria to comply with the international resolutions, especially the last one calling for establishing diplomatic relations mission between Lebanon and Syria and the delimitation of the borders, saying "we do not want to pressure any one, on the contrary we are looking to Russia to play its positive role with our brothers in Syria. Because we are all Arabs and we want to have normal relations between Lebanon and Syria, similar to the other Arab countries with which we have normal diplomatic relations, in order to build strong relations on clear basis, with each country knowing exactly their borders are, and without threatening the sovereignty and independence of each others."
MP Hariri, who spent a week in Russia and met President Putin and several high ranking Russian officials, stressed that "it would be wrong to ignore or belittle international resolutions. If Arabs belittle these resolutions they give the opportunity to other countries to evade other resolutions. The Syrians insisted that they are not responsible for the assassination of Prime Minster Rafik Hariri, therefore Damascus should help to the utmost the International Investigation Committee to uncover the truth that all Lebanese are calling for. The Syrian leadership needs only to issue one order to comply with the demands of the international community."
MP Hariri than answered a question concerning former Russian Prime Minster Primakov belief that President Bashar Assad is not involved in the assassination of PM Hariri, saying "We tend to wait for the result of the international investigation, and we always said that we will accept these results no matter what they are." MP Hariri added that he did not believe that the results of the investigation will affect the shape of the current political alliances in Lebanon, pointing out that "everybody wants to uncover the truth. Political alliances in Lebanon between various factions are not something new and General Aoun's alliance with Hezbollah and with Syria's allies in Lebanon, is not an exception."
MP Hariri stated that the strengthening of the economic and commercial relations between Lebanon and Russia will certainly further political understanding, noting that President Putin is a "strong, intelligent and wise man who knows the interests of Russia and is deeply knowledgeable of the world problems. I was tensed in the first moment of meeting the leader of a great power like Russia, but President Putin' manners and vitality made us feel comfortable and spontaneous. That is why I presented him with the pin of Martyred PM Hariri, who shared a strong relationship with President Putin."