March 14 Attends National Dialogue Armed with Request to Discuss Hizbullah Arsenalإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
March 14 opposition sources expected the country’s top leaders to “buy time” during a national dialogue session on Monday as the coalition seeks to integrate Hizbullah’s arms into the Lebanese army.
The sources told An Nahar daily that the leaders who met at Baabda palace under President Michel Suleiman are not expected to achieve tangible results.
However, they said, the top officials will agree to “buying time” pending the collapse of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad that is allied with Hizbullah or its change to democracy.
While Hizbullah says it is out of the question to discuss the possibility of handing its arms to state authorities, sources close to al-Mustaqbal bloc leader Fouad Saniora said the March 14 forces headed to Monday’s national dialogue adamant to discussing the integration of the arsenal with the army.
The opposition leaders will also stress during Monday’s session the activation of the Baabda Declaration made during the first round of all-party talks on June 11, the sources told As Safir.
During that session, the bickering leaders agreed on the need to control the Lebanese-Syrian border following a series of deadly incidents and rejected the formation of a buffer zone between the two countries.
The March 8 majority and March 14 opposition officials also agreed to back the Lebanese army as the guarantor of national unity. They further struck a deal to keep Lebanon away from the policy of regional and international conflicts.
Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat, who is a major component of the dialogue, told As Safir that the all-party talks should be productive and criticized March 14 for exaggerating in its demands.
Both sides should reach common points, Jumblat, who is a centrist, said.
Hizbullah parliamentary bloc leader MP Mohammed Raad stressed that the party is open to any objective discussion on the defense strategy that should protect Lebanon and consolidate its sovereignty against the Israeli attacks.
But Hizbullah rejected the opposition’s demand to surrender its arms.
“We will not engage in dialogue on the resistance’s arms,” said Hizbullah MP Hassan Fadlallah.
“These arms are part of a national equation that includes the army, the people and the resistance,” he added.