Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday said the proliferation of illegal arms in the country “requires incorporating all weapons within the equation of the army, people, and Resistance,” urging all parties to heed President Michel Suleiman’s call for national dialogue “without preconditions.”
“We will take part in national dialogue without preconditions. If the March 14 camp is truly concerned about the country, then it should head to dialogue without conditions,” Nasrallah said, in a televised address on the occasion of Resistance and Liberation Day.
“I call on all sides to comply with President Suleiman's call for dialogue. Those setting conditions do not want dialogue, but they simply want power,” he added.
Suleiman on Thursday announced that he will call for a national dialogue conference to be held in the second week of June, urging the March 14 forces to heed his call without linking it to the issue of forming a new government.
“In the next few days, I will send everyone a written letter calling for dialogue to be held in the second week of June, and those who have certain conditions must announce them during the first session of dialogue,” the president added.
Earlier on Thursday, the March 14 forces called for forming a “neutral, salvation government,” revealing that they will “very soon submit an initiative” to Suleiman that is “aimed at confronting the attempt to ruin Lebanon.”
In a statement issued after an emergency meeting in the wake of the latest unrest in the country, the March 14 forces noted that “confronting the conspiracy of ruining Lebanon and the collapse of its state requires the resignation of the government and the formation of a government of civil peace, a neutral salvation government that would help the president relaunch dialogue over arms -- all arms -- implement the national dialogue table's resolutions and oversee free elections.”
But Nasrallah said “it is wrong to link the Resistance’s arms to other weapons present in Lebanon, whether in the possession of the March 8 or March 14 camps.”
“What have the arms in Lebanon, besides those of the resistance, done for the country?” he added.
“They are saying that since there is chaos of arms in Lebanon, then we should tackle the Resistance’s arms. They should instead incorporate all the arms within the equation of the army, people, and resistance,” Hizbullah’s leader suggested.
He noted that “the equation of the people, army, and resistance can protect the country, but only the government and army are responsible for Lebanon’s internal security.”
“Our arms are not aimed at protecting one group or sect, but we demand that the state protect the country and people. Our arms are only pointed at Israel,” Nasrallah reassured.
He stressed that the army has the most important role in protecting civil peace.
“Let us defend the military institution,” Nasrallah said, warning that “no side would be victorious should civil war and sectarian divisions return.”
Addressing the latest deadly unrest in the country, Nasrallah said the Akkar incident that resulted in the death of two Sunni clerics, Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Wahed and Sheikh Mohammed Merheb, is “regrettable, saddening and condemned, but it remains an accident.”
“The army should be protected for the sake of all sheikhs and the Lebanese people,” added Nasrallah, saying the judiciary must look into the incident and the state must shoulder its responsibilities.
“We must be careful not to be dragged into any fighting, because some sides are trying to stir seditions,” Nasrallah warned.
On the controversial arrest of Salafist activist Shadi al-Mawlawi that stirred deadly unrest in the northern city of Tripoli, Nasrallah said: “Why should clashes erupt in Tripoli after a wanted individual is arrested?”
He warned that “sectarian incitement will make the situation on the ground uncontrollable,” urging political leaders and media outlets to “stop the incitement.”
“Where was the government when the clashes erupted in Tariq al-Jedideh? The army and security forces should be granted all that they need in order to avert future clashes,” said Nasrallah.
Nasrallah voiced his support for speeding up the trials of Islamist detainees in Lebanese prisons, stressing that the innocent must be released and noting that the state’s security agencies must not be accused of sectarianism for arresting certain individuals.
“Hizbullah and AMAL Movement have long supported that the detained Islamists held in Roumieh jail be put on trial,” he said.
Commenting on the release on Friday of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims who were abducted Tuesday in Syria’s Aleppo, Nasrallah said: “Our moral duty obligates us to thank all who helped liberate them.”
"If this abduction was aimed at putting pressure on our position (of support for Syria)," it failed, said Nasrallah, addressing the abductors.
“We condemn your action and the kidnapping of the innocent harms your cause,” he added.
A private plane owned by former prime minister Saad Hariri was preparing to fly the pilgrims home from Turkey.
In his speech, Nasrallah thanked Hariri for having "made special efforts towards the liberation" of the pilgrims.
Nasrallah also thanked President Michel Suleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Najib Miqati and the Turkish government and authorities.
Syrian state media said the kidnapping took place near the town of Aazaz, which sits along the border with Turkey. It said the men were part of a group of 53 pilgrims on board two buses.
The women were allowed to go free and returned to Beirut by plane early Wednesday. In his speech on Friday, Nasrallah thanked Syrian authorities and President Bashar Assad for providing the plane swiftly.
Commenting on street protests that erupted Tuesday and Wednesday over the abduction, Nasrallah said “there is no point in taking to the street, burning tires, or violating public and private property.”
He also condemned attacks against Syrian workers in Lebanon that took place in the wake of the abduction.
Addressing the organizers of pilgrimage campaigns, Nasrallah said: “There is no need to carry out religious pilgrimages by land because the recent developments could have led to strife.”
Separately, Nasrallah stressed that “Israel does not dare attack our country thanks to the equation of the army, people, and Resistance.”
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