Lebanon News

Jumblatt plans Syria visit, denounces UNSCR 1559

JAHLIEH: Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) leader MP Walid Jumblatt said Sunday he would visit Damascus when  the time and circumstances were right for both him and the Syrian leadership. Jumblatt was one of the major figures of the parliamentary majority who accused Syria of plotting the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri’s assassination in 2005. 
The PSP leader completely broke ties with Syria during the past four years, after Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon in 2005 due to pressure from UN Security Council Resolution 1559. 
Jumblatt’s statement followed a meeting with Syria’s close ally in Lebanon, Tawhid Movement leader Wiam Wahhab. The move was part of the PSP leader’s recent rapprochement with opposition figures, after his withdrawal from the March 14 alliance. 
The meeting was attended by representatives of the opposition including Hizbullah MP Ali Ammar and politburo member Mahmoud Qomati, Amal Movement MP Ali Bazzi and Free Patriotic Movement MP Alain Aoun. 
Jumblatt was accompanied by Democratic Gathering bloc MP Marwan Hamade who accused Syria of attempting to assassinate him during an explosion in Beirut in 2004. 
Following the June 7, 2009 elections Jumblatt said his alliance with March 14 was driven by necessity and was no longer viable. 
The PSP leader also emphasized the importance of political dialogue among the Lebanese while denouncing UN Security Council Resolution 1559. 
Resolution 1559, which calls for the disarmament of all groups in Lebanon has been at the center of controversial debate recently, as opposition leaders stress that the resolution was fully implemented saying that Hizbullah’s weapons were not subject to debate. 
“I stressed my commitment to the Taif Accord on December 1, 2004 in France, when Resolution 1559 was issued,” Jumblatt said. 
“The meeting aimed to eliminate the repercussions of the May 7 incidents and will be followed next Sunday by a meeting with Hizbullah in Chouaifat and with Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun next week,” Jumblatt said. 
On May 7, 2008, bloody clashes broke out between pro-government and opposition gunmen mainly in the Sunni areas of Beirut before spreading to the Chouf Mountains to involve Druze supporters of Jumblatt and Hizbullah factions, following the Cabinet’s decision to dismantle Hizbullah’s telecommunication network. 
The clashes ended with the Doha Accord which led to the election of President Michel Sleiman and the formation of a national unity cabinet, which granted the opposition veto power. 
The formation of the Cabinet in 2008 followed two years of political stalemate after the withdrawal of Amal Movement and Hizbullah’s Shiite ministers from the government and the failure to reach an agreement over the election of a president following the end of former President Emile Lahoud’s term. 
Jumblatt stressed that Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s visit to Damascus was a major step which benefited Lebanon and underlined the need for special ties with Damascus in accordance with the Taif Accord. 
“Jumblatt will visit Damascus since he speaks righteously while Syria has a big heart,” Wahhab said, adding that Hariri’s steps toward Syria established the foundations which could promote strategic ties between both countries.
“Syria is our second home and has historically supported the Druze,”said Wahhab. “Syrian President Bashar Assad has a special affection for Lebanon and the Druze community and I hope the relation with Jumblatt returns to the way it was.” 
Wahhab also voiced support for the Resistance while hoping that Jumblatt’s understanding with Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah turned into a strategic alliance, saying the Tawhid Movement “will be the first to resist in case of Israeli aggression against Lebanon,”





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