Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah appeared on TV via video link and made his first public comments since the failure of the Saudi Syrian talks and the collapse of the Lebanon government.
He accused the US and Israel and ‘some Lebanese parties’ of rejecting the Saudi-Syrian talks and revealed the reason behind the failure of the talks:
1- it is clear that the US and Israel rejected the Saudi-Syrian talks…They let them run for some time thinking that Riyadh and Damascus would not reach an agreement, but when they saw that a solution was about to be reached, the US and Israel interfered and obstructed the process. This is the only explanation to what happened .
2- there is no doubt that some Lebanese parties were seeking to support US and Israeli aims to obstruct the talks.
3- regarding Hariri and his allies, he said at first that the [Saudi-Syrian] agreement had been achieved, but that [March 8] did not fulfill its side of the deal. This is not true. Since the Lebanese people are concerned about the situation, I want to ask: Why did we reach this phase?
4- Hariri and his allies either do not want [to negotiate] but were sticking to the talks out of Saudi pressure, or they were supporting the talks and [the efforts] were halted due to the US’ strong will.
Nasrallah said he supported the Saudi-Syrian efforts to defuse tensions in Lebanon.
“We gambled on it along with everyone who wanted what is good for Lebanon.”
He then tried to explain what was agreed to:
1- From the beginning, Saudi Arabia was very clear. the Kingdom said said that the STL cannot be abolished. We said that we understand this fact.
2- Saudi Arabia said that the STL’s indictment cannot be abolished. We also understood this fact and noted that Saudi Arabia was unable to convince the US and Israel to cancel the indictment.
3- What we wanted was :
a- To postpone the issue of the indictment
b- To contain the repercussions of the indictment.
c – to refuse the indictment ( since we believe that we are targeted by it).
Outcome of the talks
Nasrallah said the outcome of the talks was: How to neutralize Lebanon
and the decision was
1- The cabinet meets and withdraws the Lebanese judges from the STL,
2- Lebanon stops funding the tribunal
3- Lebanon’s agreement with the STL to be abrogated and the Lebanese government will not arrest those indicted by the STL.
He said Hariri and Saudi Arabia agreed to the above three conditions but in return, they stated that other conditions should be fulfilled by the March 8 coalition.
Things were going well, the atmosphere was positive, then the medical condition of the Saudi king slowed down the progress of the talks but a couple of weeks ago, we were told by Saudi Arabia that the king is adamant about the compromise.
PM Saad Hariri made a statement before he traveled to the US announcing that a Saudi-Syrian agreement had been reached…although he held [March 8] responsible [for not implementing its terms].
Hariri traveled to the US and out of nowhere, Saudi Arabia contacted Damascus, telling it that it cannot carry out the efforts and that the talks have suddenly stopped.
– We were also informed that the STL’s indictment will be issued soon.
– We then decided last week that it was better to resign from the cabinet.
He said Hezbollah will take part in the consultations but he will not announce who the opposition supports for the premiership, adding that the parliamentary blocs will announce it tomorrow.
He said foreign countries are putting pressure to rename Hariri as PM and asked :”Is this what should happen in a democratic state? Should parties be pressured by foreign states to support Hariri?”
He laid out his conditions:
– For us, as Hezbollah specifically, we might have an evaluation regarding the cabinet performance: Any new cabinet that will be formed should bear responsibility.
– It is impossible to remain silent on any cabinet that will protect false witnesses.
– We will also not remain silent on any cabinet that will protect financial gaps.
– We will also not remain silent on any cabinet that neglects the demands of the people.
– We ask [upcoming cabinets] not to plot against the Resistance. We will not remain silent on that issue.