Lebanon News

Hezbollah sets conditions for Dialogue

Hezbollah's deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem speaks in front of students at the LU in Hadath, Lebanon, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah's deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem said Saturday his party supports the National Dialogue under the right conditions, suggesting that other parties should acknowledge certain basic principles before talks start.

“We were the first to respond to the Dialogue over the defense strategy and we know that the defense strategy talks about the resistance,” Qassem said during a party ceremony.

“Do you think that we are afraid of discussing [the defense strategy] because Hezbollah has arms? On the contrary, through dialogue, we can fix the resistance’s role in the service and for the liberation of Lebanon, and in cooperating with the Lebanese Army in the right way,” he said.

“We are not against the Dialogue, and the Dialogue of course has its conditions; there should be the right prelude for any bilateral relations and the right goals,” Qassem added.

Hezbollah last month refused to take part in the National Dialogue following criticism by President Michel Sleiman of the party’s involvement in the Syrian war.

Qassem called on politicians to seize the current “political opportunity” and acknowledge four basic principles, implying Hezbollah would only join the talks if these conditions were met.

The four principles include admission by all parties that Israel is a threat to the country, and that Lebanon is a "country for all" and that no single group can "monopolize" it.

Partis should also rule out linking the fate of Lebanon to a regional crisis, he said, and should focus on holding the presidential and parliamentary elections within the constitutional period and filling key administrative appointments.





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