Jumblatt stresses Hizbullah arms again

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Jumblatt stresses Hizbullah arms again

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:34 am

Defense tops agenda at international socialist gathering

Progressive
Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt said on Friday that the Lebanese
state should have the exclusive right to decide whether the country
goes to war, criticizing Hizbullah for "forming its own state within
Lebanon." "It is unacceptable and impossible for one party to decide to
take the country to war on behalf of the entire Lebanese people,"
Jumblatt said at the opening session of Socialist International
Mediterranean Committee's conference in Beirut.


"Had
we reached an agreement with Hizbullah on a defense strategy for
Lebanon before July 2006, the war would not have happened," he added,
referring to Israel's 34-day assault on Lebanon in the summer 2006.

Prior
to the war with Israel, rival Lebanese parties were discussing disputed
issues in a national dialogue sponsored by Speaker Nabih Berri.


Defense
strategy for Lebanon, Lebanese-Syrian relations, Palestinian arms in
Lebanon, and the International Tribunal to try suspects in the murder
of former Premier Rafik Hariri were among the issues being discussed by
the rival leaders.


Jumblatt
praised Socialist International for its backing of the March 14 Forces
and said the bloc had managed to make some important achievements over
the past three years.


The most important of all, according to Jumblatt, was the establishment of the tribunal.

"The
tribunal was established despite all the obstacles it faced," he said.
"It might be moving slowly, but we are sure that justice will prevail
at the end."


On
Lebanese-Syrian relations, Jumblatt said that the March 14 Forces have
managed to lay down the nature of such relations, even if only
theoretically and not practically.

"There
cannot be a free state in Lebanon if the Syrian regime continues to
discard Lebanon's sovereignty and independence," he said. "We demanded
establishing diplomatic relations and demarcating borders with
Damascus."


Jumblatt
said that the demarcating of borders between Lebanon and Syria would
facilitate the liberation of the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms. "Before
taking any actions regarding the Shebaa Farms, we should first prove
its Lebanese identity and this can only be done through border
demarcation."


"After
demarcating the border with Syria, it is up to the Lebanese state to
choose how to liberate the occupied territory. We might do it through
diplomatic or even military means, but fist we should demarcate the
border," Jumblatt said.


On
the issue of Palestinian arms, Jumblatt said that the March 14 Forces
have managed to force Syria's allies to agree on disarming Palestinian
militias that are operating outside the refugee camps.


"All
these groups are backed by Damascus. They have nothing to do with
Palestine," Jumblatt said, urging the government to assess the living
conditions in the country's refugee camps.


March
14 Forces representative former MP Fares Soueid urged Socialist
International to maintain its support for the governing coalition.


Socialist
International Secretary General Luis Ayala opened the conference
earlier on Friday, stressing the organization's support for democracy
in Lebanon.


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