Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Monday said his party is not seeking to “destroy” Lebanon's banking sector while denying accusations that Hizbullah is playing a role in the dollar shortage crisis.
“We don't want to destroy, control, topple or take revenge on the banking sector and there are attempts to distort Hizbullah's stance on banks,” Nasrallah said in a televised address.
“Defending people aggrieved by the banking sector is not an attack on the banking sector,” he noted.
"Don't be Americans more than Americans themselves,” Nasrallah added, addressing banks.
Lamenting that Lebanon's banks have not made “any step to help the country during this period,” Nasrallah also stressed that his party “does not want to control the central bank's governorship.”
Turning to the controversy over the dollar exchange rate, Hizbullah's leader said his party “has nothing to do with the money exchange sector.”
“We are clients of the money exchange shops. There might be money changers who are supporters of Hizbullah and we call on all money changers to abide by the law and the state's restrictions,” he added.
“We call on the owners of money exchange shops to be keen and not be part of any dollar rate hiking schemes,” Nasrallah urged, stressing that his group “is not providing cover to any money exchange shop.”
Denying recent rumors and media reports, he added: “We are not collecting dollars or sending them to Syria or Iran. We are bringing dollars into the country and we are not sending them abroad.”
Describing the government's approval of its long-awaited economic plan amid the coronavirus crisis as a “positive” move, Nasrallah said the plan needs “national immunization.”
“This is how we understood President Michel Aoun's call for a meeting in Baabda,” he said, referring to the upcoming talks in Baabda between Aoun and parliamentary leaders.
“We call for approaching the plan in a positive manner,” he urged the political forces.
As for the government's request for assistance from the International Monetary Fund, Nasrallah noted that, in principle, Hizbullah is not against Lebanon requesting assistance from any side in the world, “except for Lebanon's enemies who are known.”
“We're not against requesting assistance from the IMF but surrendering to it is rejected and the government must hold talks to know the conditions,” he said.
Addressing critics of Hassan Diab's cabinet, Nasrallah called for giving it a chance and additional time.
“One cannot ask it for miracles in 100 days in light of the difficulties and circumstances,” he said.
“We do not incite any party against another and talk of 'changing the face of Lebanon' is baseless,” he added.
“We do not want problems or tensions in the country and we want to rescue it. We call for calm in the bilateral relations between political forces,” Nasrallah went on to say, adding that “the country needs calm and cooperation.”
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