Lebanon News

PSP hosts reconciliation talks between Hezbollah, Future supporters

File - Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt arrives. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

SAADIYAT, Lebanon: The Progressive Socialist Party hosted Sunday a reconciliation meeting between Hezbollah and supporters of the Future Movement, following a clash outside the house of a mukhtar in the Chouf town of Saadiyat last month. Several were wounded after Hezbollah supporters opened fire on the house of Saadiyat Mukhtar Refaat Asaad last month, triggering a response by the local residents and supporters of the Future Movement.

Minutes after the clash, PSP officials intervened and started talks with both sides to prevent an escalation of the incident.

“Today’s meeting is taking place after the efforts made by the PSP leadership on the direct orders of MP Walid Jumblatt, who seeks to strengthen stability in the country,” PSP Secretary General Zafer Nasser said.

“Stability is in everyone’s interest and not only for a certain group of people. When there is violence, it affects all Lebanese.”

The PSP official thanked all parties for their willingness to participate in the meeting: “Preserving dignity takes place through respecting each others’ dignity as Lebanese individuals and political parties ... These are the principles under which we meet today.”

The meeting took place at the house of the PSP official with participants later visiting the mukhtar’s house.

Sheikh Ibrahim Ibrahim, imam of the Saadiyat Mosque, called on Hezbollah to control the actions of some of its supporters.

“There are some who use the name of the resistance to carry out [violent] acts that no one would like to revisit ... There is no veto against any party here,” Ibrahim said, likely in reference to reports that the mukhtar had denied Hezbollah permission to open a new office in Saadiyat.

Hezbollah official Bilal Dagher said that his party believes in good relations with everyone in the country: “We believe that we should all respect each other.”

Dagher described last month’s clash as “personal” and stressed Hezbollah’s strong relationship with the residents of Saadiyat.

Future Movement official Mohammad Kajak praised the reconciliation and said that the residents of Saadiyat are open to all parties and communities in Lebanon. “The Future Movement approached the incident in a serious way and fully cooperated with the security forces,” Kajak said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 01, 2012, on page 3.




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