Jumblatt rejects ‘ Lebanon First ‘ slogan

MP Walid Jumblatt ( C) with his son Taymor ( L) and PM Saad Hariri (R)  during their visit to lthe grave of Lebanon's former PM Rafik Hariri
MP Walid Jumblatt ( C) with his son Taymor ( L) and PM Saad Hariri (R) during their visit to lthe grave of Lebanon’s former PM Rafik Hariri

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt said during an interview with Al-Arabiya television on Sunday , that the March 14 slogan of Lebanon First does not work for him.

“I understand Hariri’s speech, but we cannot isolate ourselves. We cannot isolate Palestine,” he added.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri invoked the slogan during his speech Sunday at the commemoration of the 2005 assassination of his father, former PM Rafik Hariri.

“I am a Palestinian Arab and I can’t abandon my Arabism.” he said

Jumblatt also said that he did not hear Hariri talk about UN Security Council Resolution 1559, referring to the 2004 resolution that called for the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon as well as the disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias in the country.

“Alongside Rafik Hariri we rejected Resolution 1559,” the PSP leader said, adding that “we support Resolution 1701.”

Jumblatt also announced that he would visit Damascus and that Syria has not imposed any conditions upon him for the trip.

“I clarified my remarks to Syria through As Safir newspaper and the Syrians have no conditions regarding my visit which will happen soon.” He said in reference to last week’s interview with the pro-Syrian newspaper As Safir

“I do not have any problem in visiting Syria. I went in 1977 for the sake of Arab reconciliation and I will visit Damascus again for the sake of national and Arab interest as well as the relations between the Druze in Lebanon and Syria,” Jumblatt also said.

The PSP leader stressed that ” its is in Lebanon’s and Syria’s interest to preserve stability in Lebanon as well respect Lebanon’s uniqueness and sovereignty.”

The Syrian army withdrew from Lebanon in 2005, Jumblatt said, adding that Prime Minister Saad Hariri has built special Lebanese-Syrian relations based on the Taif Accord.

According to Jumblatt, his stances, based on his relations with Syria, protect the Druze community.

He further discussed the Druze community, saying that he would quit politics and hand over his leadership to his son, Taymor, when the time is right. “Taymor’s personality is different from mine, just as mine was different from my father’s,” Jumblatt added.

The PSP leader also said that his party’s supporters who attended Sunday’s commemoration of the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri “have the right to express whatever they want.”

Some supporters of Jumblat’s PSP were at the rally waving their party’s red flag.

“We came here although our party did not announce its participation,” said Bilal Abi Rafeh from the eastern area of Rashaya. “Walid Jumblat has his opinion, and we respect that. But we have ours too,” he told AFP.

Jumblatt stated recently that his new stance is not popular within the Druze community nor the Progressive Socilaist Party but that he adopted the news stance to spare lebanon a civil war between the Sunnis and Shiites .

Jumblatt said that Hariri is now the premier of all the Lebanese people. “Today we have entered the phase of implementation,” he also said.

“I agreed with PM Hariri to consolidate the Taif Accord,” he said, adding that “the issue of Hezbollah’s weapons will be discussed in the national dialogue.”

Hezbollah’s martyrs are the martyrs of all Lebanon, Jumblatt said, adding that the Resistance, along with Syria and Arabism, would protect Lebanon from Israel.

According to Jumblatt, his son might attend Hezbollah’s Tuesday commemoration of its martyrs. He added that Taymor’s attendance in Sunday’s commemoration of Rafik Hariri’s assassination was his first ever.

The PSP leader also addressed the issue of the March 14 alliance by saying it served its purpose for a period of time, but did not fail

“I left the official ranks of the March 14 alliance. I played a certain role during a specific period. Today a national unity cabinet has been formed,” he said.

“We want truth, justice and stability,” Jumblatt also said, referring to the demands for a secure Lebanon and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. However, he added that this is beyond the capacity of the March 14 alliance alone.

Jumblatt voiced the importance of respecting Lebanon’s political and security interests with Syria, but rejected the interference of Damascus in Lebanon’s day-to-day affairs.

Jumblatt also addressed the issue of sectarianism in Lebanon, specifically saying that the principle of eliminating political sectarianism was set by Rafik Hariri, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

I’ve done all I can and I will do all I can to prevent sectarian strife. I’m very proud with what I did on May 11 when we overcame the Shiite-Druze strife.” He said



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