Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Hariri: ‘Hezbollah’ Must Remain Neutral to Ensure Lebanon Moves Forward

Hariri: ‘Hezbollah’ Must Remain Neutral to Ensure Lebanon Moves Forward

Tuesday, 28 November, 2017 - 08:30
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. (Getty Images)

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Monday that the Iranian-backed “Hezbollah” group must stop meddling in the affairs of foreign countries and accept a policy of “neutrality.”

He said: “I do not want a political party in my government that interferes in the affairs of Arab countries against other Arab countries.”

He stressed that “Hezbollah” must remain neutral in order to ensure that Lebanon moves forward.

“I am waiting for the neutrality which we agreed on in the government,” he told French broadcaster Cnews.

“One can’t say one thing and do something else.”

Meanwhile, President Michel Aoun crowned on Monday night his series of consultations on the Lebanese crisis by holding talks at the presidential palace with Hariri and Speaker Nabih Berii.

The talks on ending the crisis focused on respecting Lebanon’s policy of disassociation from regional conflicts, committing to the Taef Accord and stressing the country’s ties with Arab states.

The crisis erupted after Hariri announced his resignation on November 4 in protest against Iran’s meddling in Lebanese affairs and “Hezbollah’s” interference in regional conflicts.

Monday’s consultations were described as positive and their results will emerge in the upcoming days, said sources close to Hariri.

They revealed that the premier had received guarantees from “Hezbollah” that it will remain neutral, as well as guarantees linked to its use of arms beyond Lebanon’s borders.

Hariri’s sources told Ahsarq Al-Awsat that the president gave the premier “assurances that ‘Hezbollah’ was determined to offer guarantees that would ease tensions in the country.|

For his part, the PM told the president that the party had made a clear pledge to commit to neutrality and the disassociation policy.

Hariri had however demanded tangible evidence of these vows.

Aoun and Berri told Hariri that these guarantees will be translated within constitutional institutions after the president returns from a trip to Italy on Wednesday, revealed the sources.

This will help the situation in Lebanon return to normal, they added.

Furthermore, they stressed that Hariri was frank in his talks with the president and speaker that he “wanted actions, not just words.”

“Should he receive them, then the reasons for his resignation would no longer exist, but should he not, then his resignation will go into effect,” they explained.

A statement by the presidency said that Aoun’s consultations throughout the day sought to reach common factors that would preserve Lebanon.

Various leaders and political bloc representatives stressed to him the need to maintain national unity and political and security stability.

The details of the talks will be presented to the constitutional institutions once Aoun returns from Italy.

The president had held talks on Monday with Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil of the AMAL Movement, Democratic Gathering leader MP Walid Jumblat, Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, Kataeb Party head MP Sami Gemayel and “Hezbollah” bloc MP Mohammed Raad.

Editor Picks