Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nasrallah vows not to use arms to achieve political goals

Nasrallah vows not to use arms to achieve political goals
Hizbullah leader reaffirms party's commitment to Doha accord
Daily Star staff

BEIRUT: Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah vowed his group would not use its arms to achieve political gains, and renewed the party's commitment to preserving Lebanese diversity in a speech on Monday to mark the eight-year anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from most of South Lebanon. "I renew my position today. We do not want to monopolize power in Lebanon and we don't want to rule the country or impose our thoughts on the people," Nasrallah stressed. The sayyed was speaking by video link to thousands of supporters who had flocked from across Lebanon to the Raya football pitch in the Sfeir region of Beirut's southern suburbs. Major General Hassan Mohsen represented President Michel Suleiman at the rally, and MP Ali Hassan Khalil represented Speaker Nabih Berri. An array of diplomatic, political and religious also took part. "I reaffirm the Doha agreement clause that precludes the use of arms to attain political goals," Nasrallah said, referring to the deal struck last week in the Qatari capital to end Lebanon's long-running political crisis. "The resistance's arms are to fight the enemy, liberate lands and prisoners, and defend Lebanon and nothing else," he pledged, referring to his group's enmity with Israel which pulled out of South Lebanon in 2000. Nasrallah also warned against the state's arsenal being used to settle domestic accounts. "The government's weapons or those of the army or security forces are to defend the nation, the people and their rights, the government, and to maintain security," he said. "The government's weapons cannot be used to settle accounts with a political opponent. The government's weapons cannot be used to target the resistance and its arms," he added. "All arms must remain in the service of the goal they were created for," Nasrallah said. Referring to the violence that shook the country earlier this month, Nasrallah said he would seek to heal wounds opened during the violence. "Both sides suffered deep wounds," he said. "Either we widen the wound and put salt on it, or we work to heal it for the sake of Lebanon. We choose the latter option."

Nasrallah was speaking one day after Suleiman was elected president. The election ended a long-running political crisis between rival factions that left the country without a head of state since late November. The Hizbullah leader welcomed Suleiman's election as a new chapter for Lebanon. "The election of Michel Suleiman brings hope to the Lebanese of a new era and a new beginning,"he said. "His inaugural speech expressed the spirit of consensus that he promised to act upon in the upcoming period. And this is what Lebanon needs." Nasrallah said he wished the Lebanese a quiet summer in contrast to what he Washington's "dream" of a hot summer, a reference to comments attributed to a US diplomat. "We face two dreams, a Lebanese and an American dream," he said. "The Lebanese dream is about a quiet summer while the American one speaks of a hot summer. "Let us make our dream come true rather than theirs." He also vowed to work toward restoring unity and reconciling differences. "I promise ... that we will make every effort to get over every grudge, overcome every sensitivity and surpass every wound to put our hands together to build Lebanon and be Lebanon," he said. Nasrallah also said Lebanon should be able to set the foundation for "a liberation strategy in addition to a defense strategy." "In Lebanon, we talk about defense; what we need now is a liberation strategy for the occupied Shebaa Farms, and Kfar Shuba Hills and the detainees in Israeli jails," he said. The sayyed also said that Israel will release Lebanese detainees it holds "very soon." "The detainees are our commitment; and Samir Kantar and his brothers will soon return to Lebanon," he said. He also blasted US policy in Iraq and Gaza, encouraging resistance and telling the Iraqis "to take an historic stance and not let their country fall into the hands of the invaders." - The Daily Star, with AFP

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