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SUNDAY, 20 APR 2014
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Sleiman: Hezbollah's resources belong to Lebanon
File - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman speaks during a ceremony in Beirut, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
File - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman speaks during a ceremony in Beirut, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman called on Hezbollah Monday to avoid intervening in Syria, saying the resources of the resistance belonged to all the Lebanese.

“The national capabilities, which are the army, the state and the resistance, do not belong to a faction or sect,” said Sleiman. “They belong to the nation and cannot be biased, and the nation must decide how to use these capabilities.”

Sleiman said the resources of the resistance should be placed under the control of the Lebanese state.

“The resistance cannot have a monopoly on intervention in internal and external affairs,” he said.

Hezbollah fought alongside Syrian regime troops in the bordertown of Qusair earlier this year, helping dislodge rebels from the vital supply hub, in contravention of the Baabda Declaration.

Sleiman urged all the Lebanese to adhere to the accord, which stresses Lebanon’s neutrality towards the events in Syria, controlling the border, and preventing the flow of arms.

In an apparent jab at Hezbollah’s military involvement in Syria, Sleiman said it was necessary for all the Lebanese to “turn inwards, to the nation” in order to “protect the resistance.”

President Sleiman was speaking on the occasion of his move to the presidential summer residence of Beiteddine.

He called for renewed support for the Lebanese army, saying it should be supported and “not betrayed or accused, or its job made difficult.”

Sleiman urged a swift formation of the government, saying he supported a Cabinet that included all political blocs but that his position should not be exploited by the various factions by putting unrealistic demands on the Cabinet formation.

“We must form a government in the nearest future,” he said. “This is what I say to everyone.”

He pointed out that amid such political deadlock, constitutional deadlines are approaching including next year's presidential elections.

Cabinet formation efforts remain stalled, with the various political blocs unable to reach an agreement on the shape or political orientation of a future government.

Sleiman also touched on the Syrian refugee crisis, which he said is a source of “great pressure” on the Lebanese.

“This small plate cannot fit this number of refugees,” said Sleiman, referring to Lebanon. “For everyone and for all the Lebanese, and the refugees too, this displacement must be addressed and regulated.”

Lebanon is now home to over 1.2 million Syrian refugees who fled the violence in Syria. Many of the refugees lack proper shelter.

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