Naharnet

Nasrallah: Border with Syria Must Not Be Closed, Syria in Danger of Partition

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah rejected on Thursday a suggestion that the Lebanese-Syrian border be closed due to the state's inability to support the burden of refugees pouring in from the war-torn country.

He said during a televised speech marking 40 days after Ashura: “The border with Syria should not be shut and the refugees, regardless if they support or oppose the Syrian regime, should be hosted in Lebanon.”

He warned that Syria and the entire region is facing a threat of division along sectarian, religious, and ethnic lines.

"We fundamentally and ideologically reject any form of partition or division of any Arab or Islamic country and call for them to preserve their unity," he stated.

"From Yemen to Iraq to Syria, the region is threatened more than ever by partition, even in Egypt and Libya and Saudi Arabia,” Nasrallah declared.

"We in Lebanon and in the region are living through one of the most important and dangerous phases, an atmosphere of strife," he added.

“The Lebanese must commit to the unity of their nation, land, people, and institutions,” he stressed.

On Lebanon's handling of the Syrian crisis, he noted that various political powers have differences on how to tackle the issue, but they are in agreement over avoiding the spread of the unrest to Lebanon.

Other powers, however, seek to spread the unrest to Lebanon through creating sectarian tensions in order to spark violence in the country, he noted.

Nasrallah praised the government for preventing the spread of the instability in Syria to Lebanon, indirectly noting that had the March 14 camp “been in power, then the country would indeed have been linked to the unrest in Syria.”

“Hizbullah has long called for calm and against being dragged into any conflict through its commitment to mutual coexistence,” he remarked.

Commenting on the flow of refugees from Syria to Lebanon, Nasrallah said: “This issue should be tackled from a purely humanitarian perspective and not be linked to political affairs.”

“The border with Syria should not be shut for any reason,” he stressed.

“The real solution to the flow of refugees does not lie in closing the border, but in working on reaching a political solution in Syria that would help halt the bloodshed,” he declared.

“Those responsible for the ongoing flood of refugees are the sides preventing this solution, whether from within Syria or on the regional and international scenes,” explained the Hizbullah leader.

In addition, Nasrallah called on the Lebanese government to “develop” its political position on Syria in a manner that does not contradict its policy of disassociation.

“Lebanon should explain to the United States, European powers, Arab League, and United Nations that it can no longer support the humanitarian and social burden of the refugees,” he said.

“Lebanon must also push for a political solution in Syria along with other concerned states,” he stressed.

Addressing the case of abducted Lebanese pilgrims held in Syria, he remarked: “It has become evident that some sides are exploiting this issue for political purposes.”

Various local and regional efforts have failed in resolving this issue, he noted.

He therefore called on the state to hold direct negotiations with the abductors in Syria's Aazaz region.

Moreover, he said that the government must also exert pressure on the countries that wield influence in this file, accusing Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar of funding and arming the armed groups in Syria.

Nasrallah urged the state to either exert more efforts to end the plight of the pilgrims or acknowledge its failure.

“Once it acknowledges its failure, then we will see how we can tackle this issue,” he stressed.


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