BEIRUT: MP Michel Aoun said Tuesday politicians opposing Hezbollah’s telecommunications network are the ones who helped establish the grid in the first place, adding that a solution should be provided to avoid violence.
“Marwan Hamadeh, Elias Murr and Fouad Siniora were in the government when the network was installed,” Aoun told reporters after the weekly meeting of his Change and Reform bloc.
“Who continued in the government on the basis of keeping the network? Whoever helped install this network is opposing it now,” he said.
The controversy surrounding Hezbollah’s telecommunications network resurfaced this week after residents of the eastern town of Zahle protested the party’s alleged attempt to install a section of the grid Sunday night.
“Those who were in a position of power when the network was installed should provide solutions so we could prevent May 5 and May 7 events,” Aoun said.
In May 2008, street clashes erupted between Hezbollah members and gunmen in parties opposing the party’s telecoms network after the government threatened to stop its construction.
Hezbollah fighters took over parts of West Beirut and the network continued operation.
Aoun also spoke about the rising number of Syrian refugees and said his bloc’s proposal to lessen the crisis fell on deaf ears.
"It's as if we are talking to the dead when we propose issues. Why don't they rent the Grand Serail and its courtyard to build refugee camps then they would actually feel there is a crisis?” he said.
MPs in the Change and Reform bloc proposed a draft law to address the rising number of Syrian refugees that includes limiting border access and deporting some refugees to safe areas in Syria.
During his chat with reporters, Aoun also spoke about his meeting with the newly-appointed U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale last week.
"We met with the new U.S. ambassador and discussed many issues and it seems that there issues that we could easily agree on such as development and topics on sound governance,” the former general said.
“He had a stance in front of the Foreign Relations Committee that extending Parliament’s term was unconstitutional and so it seems we are facing a new phase and we hope it's a positive one,” he added.
On the new deal between Russia and the U.S. to hand over Syria’s chemical weapons, Aoun said Damascus would surrender its stockpile but with certain conditions.
“I predicted that the crisis in Syria would be resolved in an agreement between the U.S. and Russia and today we are seeing the beginning of such an agreement,” Aoun said.
“They began with the most important point which is handing over the chemical weapons and Syria would surrender its only deterrent weapons but not for free, it has the right to negotiate,” he said.