Syria, Lahoud Regime, Seeking to Get Geagea Back to the Fold May 12, 2001

Discours et Textes, Samir Geagea

Syria and officials of the Lahoud regime appear to have given the approval nod for direct contacts with jailed Lebanese Forces Commander Samir Geagea sparking speculation that they may be trying to get the maverick former Christian warlord back to the fold.

Reliable sources told Naharnet the direct contacts with Geagea at his prison in the defense ministry have been under way for some time through an LF go-between. The intermediary was identified as Richard Jreisaty, who was in charge of foreign and diplomatic affairs of the LF before it was outlawed by the government in 1994. His apparent mission was to “discuss ways of resolving the state of affairs that landed Geagea in jail.”

Jreisaty has been allowed to see Geagea twice so far: the first on April 4, which lasted three and one half hours and the second May 1, which lasted 75 minutes, according to the Naharnet sources.

“Jreisaty sought to persuade Geagea of the need to end the state of belligerency with Syria and the estrangement with President Lahoud as a prelude to go into details leading to resolve Geagea’s plight,” one source told Naharnet.

Geagea’s response was inconclusive. He had shown a clear inclination to reject the offer, fearing attempts to befriend him after spending seven years in jail were merely a flank attack to abort Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir’s drive to regain Lebanon’s sovereignty and freedom of decision.

Geagea associates stress, however, that his mind was made up not to accept what he had refused seven years ago.

“Geagea is not at all willing to be used to stab the Patriarch in the back even at the expense of staying on in jail,” one Geagea associate told Naharnet.

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