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Lebanese forces leader Samir Geagea held a press conference during which he condemned the burning of the holy Quran by U.S. Pastor Terry Jones:

The Islam-hating Florida preacher who scuttled plans to burn the Quran last year, changed his mind and had a copy of the holy book set on fire last weekend after declaring the Muslim holy text “guilty” of crimes.

“We strongly condemn the burning of the Quran by U.S. Pastor Terry Jones.” Geagea said adding “I ask the US administration to be keen on the freedom of the others just as much as it is keen on the freedom of expression.”

Commenting on the issue of non-state weapons in Lebanon he said

“We are living in abnormal circumstances where arms exist outside the state’s authority and the Lebanese Forces has been demanding for years that this issue be tackled.

Who is the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces? The president, the cabinet or Hezbollah? This is a violation of Article 49 of the Constitution. Geagea said.

Geagea added: ” The principle of national defense aims at strengthening the State’s capabilities and those taking the decision to jeopardize our security everyday have nothing to do with national defense according to the national defense law.”

Geagea added: “Is the government overseeing Hezbollah’s security operations? Does it control the decision of war and peace? This is a violation of article 65 of the constitution.” He said “Hezbollah arms are no longer about resistance … They dragged us into wars we have nothing to do with in Lebanon”. This was in reference to Hezbollah war with Israel in 2006 during which over 1200 Lebanese mainly civilians were killed and 160 Israelis mainly soldiers. The war erupted following the abduction by Hezbollah of 2 Israeli soldiers, without the knowledge of the Lebanese government

Commenting on Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s threats last Saturday of filing lawsuits against March 14 leaders over the Wikileaks reports Geagea said : ” If you want to file lawsuits, we are ready.”

Commenting on the security situation in the country he said:

Seven foreigners ( Estonians) went missing in Lebanon after 25 years of the ending of the tragedy of foreign hostages and the civil war.

“We should not reach the phase where foreigners are kidnapped in Lebanon again, this is bad for Lebanon and its reputation, and until now we do not know where they are despite the fact that they were kidnapped during day time.

He added: The March 14 parties have a conviction that the situation is not normal, and cannot continue like this with the presence of non-state arms.

He asked: Who authorized Hezbollah to be responsible for the Lebanese people? Who assigned them the role of Resistance? he added: ” No one assigned Hezbollah to defend Lebanon. Let the army defend us.”

Geagea added: ” There are legislative decrees that state there are areas that the Lebanese army cannot access. Hezbollah announced that some areas are inaccessible . Hezbollah has no right to make such demands.”

Geagea said : “According to Article 228 of the Penal Code, whoever violates the measures taken by the government to maintain its neutrality during the war is punished. This reminds us of what happened in July 2006, he said”

He added: ” There are also articles in the Penal Code about recruiting soldiers to fight a foreign country. The article says: “He who recruits soldiers to fight for the sake of a foreign country in Lebanese territory without the approval of the government is punished by temporary detention or deportation.”

He asked: “What do you think of that? What do you think of Hezbollah’s participation in the war between Iran and Iraq?”

He also asked :What do you think about Hezbollah interference in Bahrain and Egypt.?

He concluded his conference by saying :

“Despite all their ( Hezbollah and allies) childish reactions , our political project is clear. it is all about Lebanon’s sovereignty , freedom and independence …We will continue struggling for its sake so that the government is effective .Lebanon cannot continue like this…. We cannot continue to bear the responsibility of what some people are doing in this country.”

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