Mouawad Calls for Forming 'Moderate Front,' Rejects Hizbullah's 'Occupation'

Head of the Independence Movement Michel Mouawad called on Friday for forming a local “moderate front,” strongly rejecting to accept Hizbullah as a dominant force in the country.

"A civil confrontation is the only mean to face extremism in Lebanon and the region,” Mouawad said in a speech he gave at a celebration marking the 24th anniversary of his father President Rene Mouawad's assassination.

“I call for forming a front of moderates of all sects.”

Mouawad noted, however, that a moderate front does not mean a group with a neutral ideology.

"I urge a strong moderate front to face the Syrian regime's occupation,” he said.

Mouawad stressed at the beginning of his speech that Lebanon is “not a land for jihad, al-Nusra or wilayat al-faqih.”

He said: “Lebanon is a nation with an identity and a civilization and we will not accept an Israeli occupation, an Iranian domination or a Syrian mandate.”

He explained that the problem with Iran is that it “violates Lebanese sovereignty and identity.”

"Iran, (Syrian President Bashar) Assad and jihadists are a danger threatening the Lebanese entity.”

"But what we cannot accept is that a Lebanese party hijacks political decisions to benefit Iran and Bashar Assad,” he added.

"We cannot accept that Hizbullah goes from being a partner in the country to becoming an occupier.”

The northern leader explained: “When Hizbullah is above the law and when it announces its intentions to change our lifestyle and our identity, this is called an occupation.”

With “full respect,” the northern leader addressed Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, telling him that refusing a national consensus or a political cover “is not acceptable.”

“The domination of one party over the Lebanese people is a rejected project. Religious coexistence cannot be guaranteed by becoming obedient and the path you are taking leads only to a total destruction.”

However, Mouawad pointed out that federalism and separation are not the solution either, stressing on the importance of the state, the National Pact and the Lebanese constitution.

Mouawad thanked Free Patriotic Movement leader for delegating a representative to attend Friday's event, telling MP Michel Aoun, however, that Hizbullah's path “does not resemble” his ideologies.

"If Hizbullah's project wins, we will all pay the price,” the Independence Movement leader stressed.

Addressing Aoun, Mouawad continued: “You belong to the party defending the state and legitimacy and I sincerely urge you to meet us and the moderate front to defend together Lebanon, its identity and the presidency.”

The ceremony was held in Dbaye with the participation of a wide range of March 14 politicians and representatives of President Michel Suleiman, caretaker premier Najib Miqati, Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, Speaker Nabih Berri as well as of religious figures.

President Rene Mouawad was killed on Independence Day in 1989 in an attack blamed on Syria by the Mouawad family and Damascus' foes in Lebanon.

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