Ex-President Amine Gemayel said in a newspaper interview published Sunday that Lebanon’s existence is in peril and accused the ‘Ghosts’ of blocking his takeover of the Phalange Party leadership.
“It looks like there is a fifth column within the Kataeb structure that is in the service of the ‘Ghosts’ and is doing their bidding,” Gemayel said in the interview that was reported by Ad-Diyar on Sunday.
Gemayel, who returned from 10 years of self-chosen exile in France eight months ago, said the leaders of the two main bickering wings of the Party, Munir Hajj and Elie Karami were on the verge of a reconciliation accord blessed by the Political Bureau, but the ‘Ghosts” suddenly intervened and blocked the rapprochement.
‘Ghost’ is the word used by all opposition leaders for the army’s secret service in Lebanon.
Gemayel said he was not seeking the party’s leadership and does not intend to run for the presidency when President Lahoud’s term expires in 2004.
“I am not naïve. I am a realist and I know that I cannot become President unless I am willing to accept certain conditions that I cannot accept,” said Gemayel. “Yet if I feel there is a national interest in my running for any office, I will not shy away.”
Gemayel was asked about the conditions that made him appoint Gen. Michel Aoun as interim prime minister when his 1982-1988 tenure expired with parliament unable to meet to elect a new president.
Gemayel said he tried at the time to talk Premier Selim Hoss to admit Gen. Aoun and Lebanese Forces commander Samir Geagea into his government to avert an irreparable schism. “But Premier Hoss refused and I had no other option but to signed the decree that named Gen. Aoun as interim prime minister,” Gemayel added.
Gemayel also said that he reached an agreement with Syria’s late President Hafez Assad over a new charter for Lebanon that contained 80% to 85% percent of the 1989 Taif accord. “But just before the finalization of that accord the late Prime Minister Rashid Karami was martyred and everything went up in the air.”
Karami perished in a mid-air bomb explosion in an army helicopter that was carrying him from Tripoli to Beirut June1, 1987.
Gemayel said the Taif accord was the charter that governed the presence of the Syrian army in Lebanon. “It should not be ignored or misinterpreted.”
The accord stipulated for a Syrian army redeployment out of Beirut and other major cities to reassemble at an enclave in the Bekaa Valley abutting the Syrian border in 1992. This hasn’t been honored.