BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Jumblatt calls for unity, says difficult days ahead

Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt lights a candle and holds a paper with "Homs" written on it in Arabic. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

BEIRUT: MP Walid Jumblatt warned Saturday on the 36th anniversary of the assassination of his father that Lebanon faced a difficult period in the coming days and paid respects to Syrians seeking to topple their president, Bashar Assad.

“I hope we can work together for the sake of national unity and preventing strife because the coming days will hold some difficulties,” Jumblatt said during the memorial for Kamal Jumblatt, the founder of the Progressive Socialist Party who was gunned down in the Chouf on March 16, 1977.

Faced with a deteriorating security situation as a result of the worsening crisis in neighboring Syria, Lebanon also faces an elections crisis with political parties yet to reach a consensus on a new voting system to govern the parliamentary polls due in June.

During the ceremony held in Mukhtara, in the Chouf, Jumblatt laid a wreath on his father’s grave.

The late Jumblatt founded the PSP in 1949 and headed the National Movement, a coalition of Lebanese leftist factions that fought alongside Palestine Liberation Organization militants against Christian parties during Lebanon’s 1975-1990 Civil War.

Walid Jumblatt has in the past accused Syrian intelligence of being behind his father's assassination.

During the ceremony, Jumblatt also paid respect to the Syrians who had fought to topple Assad.

“These days coincide with the children of Deraa's march for freedom and dignity of the Syrian people,” he said, referring to the incident believed to have sparked the unrest against Assad two years ago.

“We must bow in front of the Syrian people's sacrifices,” he added.

Jumblatt, who supports the uprising in Syria, has on several occasions accused the embattled Syrian leader of killing his own people. He has also urged the international community to take more measures to end the two-year-old crisis.

 

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