Hizbullah MP Mohammed Raad and al-Mustaqbal bloc leader Fouad Saniora exchanged accusations on the spread and smuggling of arms during the national dialogue session held at Baabda palace on Monday, media reports said.
In his statement, Saniora blamed Hizbullah’s arsenal for the spread of arms in Lebanese cities and towns. “The resistance’s arms led to the proliferation of other weapons,” he said during the four-hour meeting that was chaired by President Michel Suleiman.
But Raad snapped back, accusing al-Mustaqbal movement of smuggling arms to Syria and seeking to establish a buffer zone on the border with the neighboring country.
“It’s the language of incitement that led to the proliferation of arms and ships,” he said in reference to the interception by the Lebanese navy of the Lutfallah II vessel that was allegedly smuggling arms from Libya to Syrian rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad.
The Hizbullah lawmaker also accused ex-Premier Saad Hariri’s movement of criticizing the army and preventing it from deploying in northern Lebanon following deadly clashes in the city of Tripoli between the residents of mostly Alawite Jabal Mohsen and majority Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh.
The armed fights threatened to push Lebanon to the brink of war and were a sign that the Syrian crisis was spilling over to the country. Assad belongs to the Alawite sect that rejects the mostly Sunni led uprising against him.
“If you want the army to play its role, then MPs, former ministers and prime ministers from al-Mustaqbal movement should make statements and stress their protection to the army and throw their political weight behind it,” the head of Hizbullah’s parliamentary bloc said.
But Raad’s accusations drew a counter-attack by Saniora, who said: “We reject arms that are outside state legitimacy and we are also against the smuggling of arms to Syria and to Lebanon too.”
A heated debate also erupted after Raad accused Saniora, who was Lebanon’s prime minister during the 2006 war with Israel, of seeking to bring in multinational troops to be deployed in south Lebanon to limit Hizbullah’s power in its stronghold.
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