Nasrallah Says Bassil's Stance Brave, Warns Israel against 'Any Aggression'

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Wednesday described Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil’s stance on the latest U.S. sanctions as “brave,” as he warned Israel against waging “any aggression.”

“Minister Bassil’s stance is brave and patriotic” and he has “proven his credibility, freedom and independence,” said Nasrallah in a televised address marking Hizbullah’s Martyr Day.

Noting that Bassil had told him that he had preferred to be hit with U.S. sanctions over bowing to a U.S. demand that he break his ties with Hizbullah, Nasrallah said: “I told Minister Bassil that we did not wish him any harm and asked him to take the stance he saw appropriate.”

“The response to the U.S. sanctions should be improving the relation between Hizbullah and the FPM for the sake of the country’s interest,” Nasrallah added.

As for the delay in the cabinet formation process, Hizbullah’s leader said the discussions need “further consultations” between President Michel Aoun and PM-designate Saad Hariri, hoping the talks will be “expedited.”

Separately, Nasrallah revealed that Hizbullah had been on alert during a major Israeli military drill simulating a conflict on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and Syria.

“Some of the resistance's units had been on alert over the past days during the Israeli military drill and we meant to let Israel know this,” Nasrallah said.

“If the Israelis think of waging any aggression, our response will be very fast,” he warned.

And in his first comments on the sea border demarcation talks between Lebanon and Israel, Nasrallah stressed that claims that the negotiations will lead to a peace agreement or normalization with Israel are baseless.

He said such objectives are “out of the question for Hizbullah and Amal,” refuting accusations in this regard.

“We have full confidence in President Aoun’s management of this file and we know his high keenness on recovering Lebanon’s rights,” Nasrallah said.

“We in the resistance do not interfere in the issue of the demarcation of land or sea border and we have said that this is the state’s responsibility,” he added.

“The state decides where the border is and the resistance abides by what the state says,” the secretary-general went on to say.

He however noted that the negotiating Lebanese delegation “must know that it is in a position of strength, not a position of weakness.”

"Like we need to draw up the maritime border to benefit from oil and gas in our regional waters, so does the enemy," Nasrallah added.

"He who wants to prevent us from benefiting from oil and gas knows that we too can prevent him from doing so," he said.

Source: Naharnet, Agence France Presse

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