Gebran Bassil

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Gebran Bassil
جبران باسيل
Lebonese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil (cropped).jpg
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants
Assumed office
15 February 2014
Prime MinisterTammam Salam
Saad Hariri
Preceded byAdnan Mansour
President of the Free Patriotic Movement
Assumed office
27 August 2015
Preceded byMichel Aoun
Personal details
Born (1970-06-21) 21 June 1970 (age 48)
Batroun, Lebanon
NationalityLebanese
Political partyFree Patriotic Movement
Alma materAmerican University of Beirut
WebsiteOfficial website

Gebran Gerge Bassil (Arabic: جبران جرجي باسيل‎; born 21 June 1970) is a Lebanese politician, and as of 20 September 2015, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement.

Early life[edit]

Bassil was born in a Maronite Christian family. Bassil received a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in civil engineering from the American University of Beirut in 1992 and 1993 respectively.[1] He was a member of a number of associations: the Lebanese Red Cross and Rotary Club of Batroun, Lebanon.[2]

Political career[edit]

Between the years of 1998 and 2005, Gebran Bassil was an activist for various positions in the Free Patriotic Movement in Lebanon. In 2005, he became a candidate in the general elections in the district of Batroun. He didn't succeed at getting elected. From 2005 to 2008, Bassil became the head of the Free Patriotic Movement.

He served as the Minister of telecommunications in the Lebanese cabinet led by Fouad Siniora from May 2008 to June 2009, and then as the minister of energy in the cabinet headed by Saad Hariri[1] Bassil lost the general elections held in 2009.[3]

He has been serving as the Minister of Energy and Water in the cabinet headed by Najib Mikati since June 2011, and assumed the role of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants as of February 2014. In the general election of 2018, Bassil was elected as an Member of Parliament (MP) for the Batroun-Koura-Zgharta-Bsharri electoral district.[4]

Collapse of government in 2011[edit]

On 12 January 2011, the government collapsed after Bassil announced that all ten opposition ministers had resigned following months of warnings by Hezbollah that it would not remain inactive should there be indictments against the group. The New York Times suggested the resignations came after the collapse of talks between Syria and Saudi Arabia to ease tensions in Lebanon.

2017 Lebanon–Saudi Arabia dispute[edit]

Lebanon's president Aoun and some Lebanese officials including Bassil believed that the abrupt resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri was made under coercion by Saudis and have claimed that the Saudis have kept him hostage.

This led Bassil to visit multiple European countries and meet with senior EU leaders to rally diplomatic support for Lebanon and it's stability. During his European tour, he met with High Representative/Vice-President of the European Union Federica Mogherini in Brussels[5], Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu[6], German FM Sigmar Gabriel[7], Russian FM Sergei Lavrov[8] and French President Emmanuel Macron[9].

Personal life[edit]

Bassil and his wife Chantal Michel Aoun have three children.[10] His father in law is the current Lebanese president (since 31 October 2016) and the former leader and the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement, Michel Aoun.[11]

Controversies[edit]

Dispute with Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri[edit]

In a meeting with FPM supporters in Batroun district, Bassil accused Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri of seeking to derail a diaspora conference organized by the Foreign Ministry in Abidjan by forcing Shiite businessmen to boycott the gathering. Bassil accused Berri of threatening to have Shiite businessmen participating in the conference fired from their jobs and the bank funding the diaspora gathering closed.

Bassil’s comments were revealed in a leaked video which was broadcast by Al Jadeed local TV station. The video sparked an outcry on social media with Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, Berri's top political aide, blasting Bassil for crossing a red line and describing him as a "political dwarf" with sectarian motives. The leaked video also triggered a wave of street protests by the Berri's supporters, who responded by blocking a number of Beirut’s major roads and vital arteries with burning tires.

Bassil’s “thug” remark was the tip of the iceberg of long-simmering tension between the FPM and the Amal Movement that started with a decree that sought to promote a number of Army officers who has served under Aoun in the late 1980s when he was Army commander.

Comments on Israel[edit]

Bassil was criticized by many Lebanese politicians after an interview in December 2017 with Al-Mayadeen in which he stated that Lebanon does not have an ideological problem with Israel.

He also said in that interview that he was not against Israel "living in security".[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Speakers". Economist Conferences. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Gebran Biography". Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Lebanon finally has a government Sulaiman's man seals the deal". Gulf News. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  4. ^ "The Cabinet". Embassy of Lebanon. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  5. ^ https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/35598/high-representativevice-president-federica-mogherini-met-lebanese-foreign-minister-gebran_en
  6. ^ https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2017/11/16/lebanese-fm-bassil-in-turkey-to-discuss-bilateral-ties-developments-in-the-region
  7. ^ http://nna-leb.gov.lb/en/show-news/85560/nna-leb.gov.lb/en
  8. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-lebanon-bassil/lebanese-foreign-minister-some-forces-trying-to-oust-lebanon-leader-ifax-idUSKBN1DH1FQ
  9. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-lebanon-france/lebanons-hariri-must-return-home-from-saudi-to-prove-he-is-free-foreign-minister-idUSKBN1DE29I
  10. ^ "Gebran Bassil's Profile, Biography & Heritage". Katagogi. Retrieved 3 April 2014.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Economic Reform Prospects In Lebanon's New Government". Wikileaks. 7 November 2009. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  12. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lebanon-israel/lebanese-foreign-minister-denounced-over-israel-comments-idUSKBN1EM1EZ

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Adnan Mansour
Foreign Minister of Lebanon
2014–present
Incumbent