Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri succeed in opening a new page in the relations between Hezbollah and the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP). The move comes after months of disputes following tensions sparked by an armed clash on June 30 between the rival Druze leaders, Walid Jumblatt, of the PSP, and MP Talal Arslan, of the Lebanese Democratic Party.
A meeting was held on Saturday afternoon at Berri’s residence in Beirut in the presence of Hezbollah’s political advisor to the Secretary-General, Hussein Al-Khalil, and the Party's Liaison and Coordination Unit Head, Wafik Safa, while the PSP was represented by Industry Minister Wael Abou Faour and former Minister and MP Ghazi Aridi.
A PSP source told Asharq Al-Awsat the party hopes that relations with Hezbollah would move in the positive direction.
“Dialogue was our principle demand from the start, therefore we welcomed Berri’s initiative,” the source said, adding that since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, the PSP had requested to work on settling the dispute with Hezbollah.
Following the talks that lasted for an hour and a half, PSP’s Aridi thanked Speaker Berri "for his exceptional efforts, especially in difficult times," praising his "wisdom, courage, sobriety, foresight, and care for the unity and stability of the state and its institutions."
He stressed that agreement was reached during the meeting to settle their differences and resort to dialogue for the sake of preserving the state amidst the major challenges surrounding it, especially the economic, social and financial crises.
"The meeting ambiance was frank, friendly and keen on restoring matters to their normal course," Aridi asserted.
For his part, Hezbollah's Khalil also thanked Berri for his continuous initiatives in bringing various sides closer together in the country and encouraging reconciliation among them.
"The Speaker took on the responsibility of reuniting both sides to confront the major challenges facing the country, both at the external and internal levels," said Khalil.
The Hezbollah official added that Saturday’s meeting culminated in reconciliation and honesty, and the atmosphere was friendly and cordial.
"The leadership of Hezbollah and the PSP authorized Speaker Berri to lay the foundations for solving all the problems that have befallen during the past period, and we agreed to restore matters to their proper paths."
The Hezbollah official also indicated that points of agreement are many, mostly in the political domain that constitutes a common denominator between both parties that serve the homeland, while settling their differences would be a way to safeguard the country's stability, security and economic interests.