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Lebanon News

Jumblatt: Put differences aside to face ISIS threat

MP Walid Jumblatt, right, speaks during a joint press conference with Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh in the northern town of Bneshaai, Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. (The Daily Star/Stringer)

BEIRUT: Lebanon's rival groups should put their differences aside to better confront the ISIS threat facing Lebanon as well as the region, MP Walid Jumblatt said in remarks published Tuesday.

In his remarks to An-Nahar, Jumblatt said he shared Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah's fear of the “danger facing everyone without exception that is represented in the ISIS terrorism creeping into the region.”

Echoing remarks from the Hezbollah chief, Jumblatt said ISIS was “an existential threat not only for Lebanon but for the region's countries.”

“In light of this threat, I hope everyone would delve into what is going on and share a mutual keenness to face this danger with some unity in order to save Lebanon,” he said.

“This requires [politicians] at least to put aside their differences and come together on this mutual interest.”

He said such a threat and the need to confront it should not overshadow the necessity of swiftly electing a new president and ending the presidential paralysis.

The presidential void, he said, was negatively affecting the country “at a time Lebanon is in desperate need of security and stability in light of the dangers surrounding it.”

Jumblatt has launched contacts with rival politicians and held talks with a number of them, including those he sharply disagrees with. He has met with March 8 coalition figures including Nasrallah and MP Michel Aoun and held rare talks with MP Sleiman Frangieh, head of the Marada Movement.

His efforts focus on finding an end to the presidential paralysis that has been prolonged due to differences among politicians and inability to agree on a consensus candidate.

Acknowledging political differences with Frangieh, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Jumblatt, an outspoken critic of the Syrian leader, said Monday after meeting Frangieh: “Regardless of political differences ... there are some common grounds that begin with maintaining Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence and stability.”

 

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