BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Saturday Hezbollah’s weakness lies in its weapons and reiterated his belief that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s reign would end.
“I disagree completely: their weakness are their weapons believe me, the only way forward is to build a state no matter what,” Hariri posted on the micro-blogging site Twitter in response to a question as to whether others should arm themselves given Hezbollah’s growing arsenal.
Hariri also blamed Assad on recent unrest in the northern coastal city of Tripoli.
“These fires are made in the name of the Syrian regime,” Hariri answered one question, referring to the unrest in Lebanon’s second largest city.
Responding Friday to call by Speaker Nabih Berri for dialogue to end the unrest in Tripoli, Hariri said only a decision could bring about an end to the tension, adding that this would entail a halt to the arming and financing of “mercenaries who are linked to some political parties, and to stop making some state apparatuses serve the interests of the Syrian regime in Lebanon.”
Asked whether the country could become weapons-free without national dialogue, Hariri answered: “Of course this needs to be done through genuine dialogue without preconditions, a dialogue that takes the interests of all Lebanese.”
Hariri also said Tripoli, as well as Beirut and other cities, had always sought to become a weapons-free zone and “always was for the project of the state.”
In his one-hour question and answer session on Twitter, Hariri also dismissed fears of a civil war in Lebanon and reiterated his belief that Assad’s reign would come to an end.
“No one can buy time for this regime, the regime will end itself,” Hariri said when asked whether Russia’s call for more U.N. observers in Lebanon’s neighbor was a bid to “buy more time for the regime.”
Asked whether he would run in Tripoli during next year’s parliamentary elections in order to compete with his successor Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Hariri said: “Beirut is my city.”