Suleiman Vows to Support Resistance with Conditions

Former President Michel Suleiman has vowed to back the resistance if it asked for his support but on condition that it abides by a defense strategy for the country.

In remarks to As Safir daily published on Wednesday, he said: “When the resistance needs assistance, it will find President Suleiman as its supporter but within known conditions and the vision of the strategy.”

“We need the resistance as part of the state,” Suleiman told the newspaper the day he left Baabda Palace at the end of his six-year term on Sunday, leaving behind an empty seat over the failure of MPs to elect a successor.

But the daily published his remarks on Wednesday because newspapers were not printed for two consecutive days over the holidays.

Suleiman said that Hizbullah does not want a defense strategy.

He expressed understanding to its role as a resistance in southern Lebanon against the Israeli enemy and its occupation of Lebanese territories.

“I wish that it was still in the South. No one would have ever said anything to it,” he told As Safir, lamenting the party's involvement in the war in neighboring Syria.

Hizbullah has sent thousands of fighters into Syria to support President Bashar Assad's forces against rebels seeking to overthrow him, saying they are defending an "axis of resistance" against Israel and the West.

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Sunday that his movement wants the country to have a president "who does not conspire against it."

Relations between the party and Suleiman deteriorated sharply in the past months after the president criticized Hizbullah over its insistence to hold onto the “army, people, resistance” in the cabinet's policy statement.

Hizbullah snapped back at Suleiman, saying he required “specialized care.”

But the ex-president told As Safir that he had turned a blind eye to many “violations” committed by the party against him.

“Anyway, there is no problem with the resistance and these differences are not important,” he said.



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