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SUNDAY, 20 APR 2014
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Siniora says assurance needed on Hezbollah’s arms
Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora talks to reporters in Sidon, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora talks to reporters in Sidon, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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SIDON, Lebanon: Future parliamentary bloc leader MP Fouad Siniora reiterated Sunday that Hezbollah needs to unambiguously pledge that its weapons solely serve Lebanon’s national interest and will not be used in regional struggles.

“What is needed is for Hezbollah to put forward a clear and unambiguous statement that its weapons are Lebanese and won’t be used for regional purposes in any shape or form or beyond the Lebanese will in order for us to commence dialogue,” Siniora told reporters in his home city of Sidon, south Lebanon.

“Our position is that these weapons ultimately need to fall under the authority of the state and that it has the exclusive right to use them. This is what we envisage coming out of the dialogue,” Siniora added, referring to the National Dialogue relaunched in June by President Michel Sleiman.

During a National Dialogue Committee meeting at Baabda Palace Thursday, President Michel Sleiman unveiled to rival Lebanese leaders a national defense strategy that would allow Hezbollah to keep its arms but place them under the command of the Lebanese Army, which would have exclusive authority to use force.

The March 14 coalition has demanded that Hezbollah hand over its weapons to the Army while the resistance insists it retain them but coordinate with the Lebanese military.

Siniora also reiterated Sunday that his party opposed any aggression against Iran by Israel or another state, “but at the same time we cannot accept that our country becomes a launching pad for rockets and an arena to be used for purposes of confrontation.”

“We oppose that Hezbollah’s weapons be regional ones and used for regional purposes,” he added.

Siniora said his party would continue with dialogue, which he described as the “only way we can resolve issues that we are facing but on the clear and frank basis that we need to adhere to the rules of the Constitution which offers a genuine summary of how the relationship among Lebanese should be.”

 
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