Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Sunday stressed that his support for the Syrian uprising does not imply a change in his domestic alliances, noting that his ministers will not resign from Premier Najib Miqati’s government.
“We stress the firm stances: we will stay in this government and we are with (Hizbullah’s) weapons in order to defend Lebanon in the face of Israel, but we reject the use of arms domestically,” Jumblat said during a meeting with his party’s cadres in the Mount Lebanon town of al-Khalwat.
“Nowadays, we have chosen to side with the Syrian people, but that does not mean a change in alliances. We have agreed with Hizbullah to manage our differences. They have their point of view concerning the Syrian regime but I won’t discuss it now, and we have our point of view which is supportive of the Syrian people, and in my opinion they will eventually realize that they were mistaken,” Jumblat added.
He also noted that Moscow will sooner or later regret its support for the regime in Damascus, calling on Russia and China to “rescue Syria” and stressing that the regime’s crackdown on dissent will only lead to “further killings, displacement and destruction.”
The Druze leader also stressed commitment to the “settlement” reached with Hizbullah in the wake of the May 7, 2008 clashes.
“We changed alliances in order to prevent civil strife,” Jumblat said, referring to his decision in 2011 to join Miqati’s cabinet, which is described by its political rivals as “Hizbullah’s government.”
Turning to the issue of the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Jumblat called on Hizbullah to defend itself in court.
The STL has accused four Hizbullah members of involvement in the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri.
“The method of political assassination was introduced by the Syrians,” Jumblat charged, referring to the period between 1976 and 2005, when Syrian forces were stationed in Lebanon.
Addressing Hizbullah’s controversial arsenal of weapons, the Druze leader said the party’s arms will in due course become under the authority of the Lebanese state, calling on the March 14 camp to engage in dialogue with Hizbullah without preconditions.
“Residents of the South consider these arms as part of their dignity and pride, and believe they are the first line of defense (against Israel). One day, I believe they will demand that these arms be under the Lebanese army’s authority, but that cannot be achieved through telling them ‘you either hand over your arms or we cannot talk’,” Jumblat added.
“Dialogue is the only way to communicate with the dear Shiite sect, that’s why those calling for disarming (Hizbullah) -- or rather seeking to remove weapons at any cost -- are mistaken,” he went on to say.
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