Hezbollah's caretaker Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan met with the Syrian economy minister Wednesday to push for stronger economic relations between Lebanon and Syria, the state-run National News Agency reported.
"We have interests with Syria, Syria has interests with Lebanon," Hajj Hasan was quoted as saying after the meeting.
Hajj Hasan went to Syria at the invitation of Syrian Economy Minister Samer Khalil, to attend the 60th Damascus International Fair.
The annual fair, which was held last year after a five-year hiatus due to the country’s conflict, showcases companies from across the world, including Lebanese companies, that come to exhibit consumer goods.
"It is in the interest of Lebanon to open the Nassib border crossing. And any trader, regardless of his political identity, has an interest in the reconstruction of Syria," Hajj Hasan said.
Reports have suggested that the Syrian government won't reopen that Syrian-Jordanian border to Lebanese goods and products, unless ties between Beirut and Damascus are restored. Some Lebanese politicians have criticized these conditions, with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri saying that Syria was blackmailing Lebanon into compliance.
But according to Khalil, Lebanon needs the open border more than Syria does. "Our study showed that there is no great value for Syria to open the border but the issue needs to be further studied to get accurate results," Khalil was quoted as saying by the NNA.
The issue of how extensive coordination with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime should be remains a fractious topic in Lebanon, especially as General Security has recently begun engaging with the Syrian government regarding security and the issue of refugee returns.
Hezbollah, the Amal Movement and their allies in Lebanon have supported normalizing ties with the Syrian regime, while the Future Movement, the Lebanese Forces and other parties say that normalized relations will not be possible until a political solution is reached to end the 7-year-old Syrian war.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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