Lebanon News

Hariri criticizes Hezbollah, says drone mission risky move

In this June 12, 2009 file photo, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks during an interview at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Lebanon. (Grace Kassab/The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri criticized in remarks Saturday Hezbollah’s decision to send a drone into Israel, describing it as an “uncalculated adventure.”

“I welcome President Michel Sleiman's approach that reflects deep concern that is shared by all of the Lebanese with regard to the uncalculated adventures Hezbollah wants to drag Lebanon into,” Hariri said in a statement issued to An-Nahar newspaper.

Hariri was referring to Sleiman’s proposal for a national defense strategy that would benefit from Hezbollah’s arsenal and subordinate the decision of its use to the Lebanese Army.

Hezbollah has admitted recently sending a drone into Israeli airspace that was later downed by the Jewish state and vowed that the operation will not be its last.

Hariri, who heads the opposition Future Movement, also urged Lebanese to stand against attempts to endanger the country through acts of involving them in the Syria crisis or violating international resolutions.

“During these delicate hours in the region, all loyal Lebanese and those who oppose endangering Lebanon’s national interests ... whether its commitment to international resolutions, particularly [UNSCR] 1701, or involving Lebanese [in the Syria crisis] by turning the act of fighting alongside the Syrian regime into a major part of the agendas of the resistance and Jihad, should bear their historic responsibilities so that everyone realizes once and for all that Lebanon is not a unmanned drone,” he said.

Sleiman said Friday the Hezbollah-dispatched plane underscored the need for a defense strategy that benefits from the resistance party’s strength.

In a statement, he called for establishing “a mechanism to use these capabilities exclusively, and under any circumstances in line with the Army’s plans and its defense needs and the national interest.”

Hariri has repeatedly called on Hezbollah to surrender its arms to the state, saying it is an obstacle to political life in the country.

Lebanon has adopted a policy of dissociating itself from the developments in the region, particularly the 18-month long Syria crisis.





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