Hariri Says Electoral Law Talks 'Positive', Israel Mustn't Blame Lebanon for Hizbullah 'Regional' Ties
Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced Thursday that Lebanon is not headed for a crisis regarding the electoral law, while noting that Hizbullah's presence as an armed group is a “regional issue.”
“The atmosphere is positive and I believe that we are not headed for a crisis... I'm confident that we will reach an electoral law that represents all Lebanese,” Hariri told Lebanese reporters accompanying him to Egypt at the end of a two-day official visit.
Asked whether the large number of agreements that Lebanon has signed with Egypt during the visit were aimed at compensating for the decrease in cooperation with the Gulf countries, Hariri said: “No, not at all.”
“This (Egyptian-Lebanese Joint Higher) Committee had not convened for seven years... although it is supposed to convene every year. But this Committee did not convene and the governments of the two countries did not engage in any communication, that's why we believe that what we did will improve trade between Lebanon and Egypt,” the PM added.
Separately, Hariri told Egypt's ON E television that Lebanon should continue the discussion of a defense strategy aimed at countering Israel's threat, “because there is a dispute over this issue.”
He was answering a question about “Hizbullah's argument that the Lebanese army is incapable of defending Lebanon against Israel.”
“As for Hizbullah, I'm very frank: Hizbullah is a regional issue and not only a Lebanese one, that's why Israel should not blame Lebanon over this. Israel is addressing the Lebanese state whereas it is actually a regional issue,” Hariri added.
“The attempt to point the cannon at Lebanon is a wrong decision by Israel,” he went on to say.
Asked whether Hizbullah's presence in south Lebanon is to blame for Israel's hostility, Hariri said: “Israel has its interests and it has waged several wars, but all Arabs must resist Israel.”
Separately, Hariri said he does not agree to Hizbullah's argument that its military intervention in Syria has “protected Lebanon from terrorism.”
“When you implicate yourself in a conflict in Syria, you are bringing the scourge into your country. They should not have intervened, because this scourge came after their intervention. This is our viewpoint but their viewpoint is different,” Hariri added.