Hariri greets people in Koraytem, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Prime Minister Saad Hariri Tuesday implicitly criticized Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah for failing to comply with the government's dissociation policy toward regional conflicts and for verbally attacking Arab countries, in the latest escalation between the two sides ahead of next month's general elections.Hariri also appeared to seek assistance from Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian to help protect the identity of Beirut and its political decisions in the face of eight rival lists running against the Future Movement's candidates.This harms Lebanon's interests and crosses the limits of national consensus in maintaining Lebanon's relations with Arab countries," Hariri added, clearly alluding to Hezbollah.In a televised speech during an electoral rally last week, Nasrallah criticized Future Movement officials for portraying the Beirut vote as "a battle to preserve the Arab identity of Beirut" in the face of the "Persian project," a reference to Iran's influence in Lebanon through Hezbollah's growing political role. He also rejected claims by Hariri and the Future Movement that Hezbollah was attempting to control Beirut's political decisions through the elections.
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