BEIRUT – Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt stressed that he and his son had no intention to re-establish ties with the Syrian regime or even visit Damascus.
“Who said we want to go to Damascus? Neither I nor my son [Taymour] have thought for a moment about going,” Jumblatt said in remarks published in L’orient le Jour on Friday.
“We will not go until [Damascus] is freed from the group currently in power."
The Druze leader’s comments come after Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali denied Thursday that the Syrian regime was willing to host a visit from Taymour Jumblatt.
“Comments about Damascus’ doors being open to [Jumblatt’s] son Taymour are only media speculation,” Syrian state media quoted Ali as saying.
Al-Akbhar newspaper reported on November 27 that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told visitors that “Jumblatt is not allowed to visit the [Syrian] presidential palace, but maybe his son Taymour can.”
In March 2010, Jumblatt reversed years of criticism of the Syrian regime and apologized for his comments in an interview with Al-Jazeera television.
The Druze leader proceeded to make a number of visits to Damascus as he began to side more closely with Lebanon’s pro-Assad March 8 alliance, eventually joining Najib Miqati’s March 8-dominated cabinet in 2011.
Jumblatt last visited Damascus in August 2011, months after the outbreak of the uprising in Syria, and has since resumed his opposition to the Assad regime.