Nasrallah Holds Talks with Moqbel on 'Political, Security Developments'

Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah held talks Tuesday with Defense Minister Samir Moqbel.

Nasrallah met Moqbel in the presence of Wafiq Safa, head of the party's Liaison and Coordination Unit, according to a Hizbullah statement.

The statement said the two men discussed “the political and security developments in Lebanon and the region.”

Moqbel visited Iran in October to discuss a military grant that Tehran had offered to Lebanon.

The minister said at the time that Iran “agreed to provide a large number of the Lebanese army's demands” while acknowledging that “this grant is an unconditional grant.”

But Moqbel stressed that the proposed donation needs the approval of the council of ministers before the “necessary measures” can be taken.

Iran had vowed to supply the Lebanese army with much-needed equipment following its deadly clashes with fighters from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida affiliate, al-Nusra Front, on the Syrian border in August.

Iran's offer of military support -- made when Iran's Supreme National Security Council chief visited Beirut in September -- followed aid packages for the Lebanese army from Tehran's regional rival Riyadh as well as from Washington.

Some Lebanese factions, mainly al-Mustaqbal movement and the March 14 alliance, have refused the Iranian grant. Centrist Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat has also expressed reservations on it.

Also Tuesday, Nasrallah made a rare trip to visit to a top Shiite cleric visiting Lebanon for medical checkups.

The Hizbullah media office said that Nasrallah visited Grand Ayatollah Bashir al-Najafi and discussed "Muslim affairs with him." It did not elaborate or say where the meeting took place.

Al-Najafi arrived in Beirut last week where he was supposed to undergo medical tests.

Al-Najafi, a Pakistani, is one of the most influential Shiite clerics worldwide and has been based in the Iraqi Shiite holy city of Najaf for decades. He is one of four top Shiite clerics based in Najaf.


Source: Naharnet, Associated Press

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