During an interview with CNN Arabic news , Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said that last week’s Borj Abi Haidar clashes harmed Hezbollah’s image, adding that the violence revealed that the party has a military presence in the capital that cannot be justified or accepted, according to a statement issued Wednesday by Geagea’s office.
“ Hezbollah should intervene domestically through politics and not through military force ,” Geagea said, reiterating his call to make Beirut an arms-free city.
His statement comes after a bloody street battle that shook the Borj Abi Haidar neighborhood in the Lebanese capital on August 24, pitting supporters of the Iranian backed Hezbollah against the pro-Syrian Al-Ahbash militants —also known as the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects. 3 people were killed in the clash including a Hezbollah senior official.
Geagea said that he wants Hezbollah to retain its power, but added that he favors organizing the Resistance’s strength and granting it a legitimate political cover.
“Hezbollah cannot confiscate the decision of defending Lebanon at a time when the party is not a legitimate authority and when there is no unanimous agreement between the Lebanese on granting such tasks to Hezbollah ,” the LF leader said
However, Geagea said that the transitional plan he proposed August 19 to the national dialogue committee would allow Hezbollah to operate under legitimate political cover.
The LF leader’s plan calls for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to reinforce its deployment in the South and for Hezbollah units be placed under the Lebanese army’s command.
He added that his plan abides by UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and only allows for a Hezbollah military presence north of the Litani River under the command of the LAF.
“Unfortunately, President Michel Suleiman did not seriously consider my transitional plan ,” Geagea said ad added: ” This is the first time a proposal that includes all point of views is made.”
“Speaker Nabih Berri is the only official who expressed interest in my transitional plan because he is open to all suggestions and possibilities at all times,” Geagea told CNN in the interview.
The LF leader hoped Berri would convince Hezbollah about the seriousness of his suggestion, which according to Geagea has no alternative.
Asked about the indictment that will be filed by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ( STL) over the assassination of Lebanon’s former PM Rafik Hariri, the LF leader said: “The decision can’t be anticipated.”
“There is no excuse for the current political bickering over the indictment. All what is being said are rumors,” Geagea added.
STL prosecutor Daniel Bellemare reacted to the recent rumors the same way during an interview on Sept 1 : People should remember this: “Unless they can read into my brain, everything else is just speculation”.
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