Gemayel refuses to talk to Hezbollah


Phalange leader Amin Gemayel has reportedly said that his party would not engage in dialogue with representatives of Hezbollah who consider the four suspects accused of involvement in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s Feb. 2005 murder as “saints.”

Gemayel’s own son, Pierre Gemayel, was assassinated on November 21, 2006. No investigation was carried out over the murder of Lebanon’s second-youngest MP, who was also serving as Minister of Industry. Given Hezbollah’s involvement in the assassination of Rafik Hariri, it many believe that the militia was also behind the murder of Pierre Gemayel, a vocal critic of Syria’s military presence in and political domination of Lebanon.

An Nahar daily said Wednesday that Gemayel made his remarks to President Michel Suleiman the day before after the president launched consultations to inquire about the politicians’ viewpoints on his invitation for national dialogue.

“The Phalange will not seat at a table with people whose party members are accused and consider them saints,” Gemayel told Suleiman.

All-party talks are rejected if they are aimed at legalizing the coup that Hizbullah led against former Premier Saad Hariri’s cabinet in January, the former president reportedly said.

Phalange sources told al-Joumhouria daily that Gemayel said the dialogue should consolidate the seat of the presidency. “The failure of the next stage would be a disaster to the post.”

He also accused the Hizbullah-led March 8 alliance, which is now encouraging dialogue, of obstructing previous sessions by rejecting to discuss the fate of the Shiite party’s arms.

While he welcomed any type of dialogue among Lebanese leaders, Gemayel said his party can’t sit at the dialogue table with people who are trying to exercise the power authorized to security forces.