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Syrian president Bashar al Assad told Hezbollah’s al Manar TV during an interview on Wednesday that the Syrian decision to receive PSP leader MP Walid Jumblatt was due to mediation efforts by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the one hand and a change in Jumblatt’s political stances on the other.

“Hezbollah believes that reconciliation between Lebanese political parties would help diminish tensions and benefit the resistance, which we also believe will benefit Syria since stability in Lebanon is also in our interest,” Assad said.

Asked about the timing Jumblatt’s expected visit to Syria, Assad said Damascus would receive Jumblatt after the Arab League summit in Libya.

Asked whether Syria would receive Jumblatt in the same way that it had greeted Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, Assad said that the situation differed between the two Lebanese figures.

“Aoun opposed us based on convictions rather than based on foreign allegiances even at times when Syria’s ties with foreign powers were good,” the Syrian president explained.

Jumblatt whose father , Kamal Jumblatt was assassinated by the Syrian regime is under heavy criticism from within the Druze community and the PSP for being so anxious to visit Syria.

The al Akhbar newspaper reported on March 16, 2010 that a new group calling itself the “Free Druze” has distributed a statement in the Shouf region of MT Lebanon criticizing the Druze leader for “underestimating the minds of fellow Druze citizens.”

“We will not allow you, or your lawmakers or your men to use us to make a fortune in the name of the Druze,” the statement threatened

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