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Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt on Tuesday responded to criticism regarding his recent views about Hezbollah’s use of arms.

“What I said is only a reminder of what I have been saying for the past three years about what has been agreed to in past national dialogue sessions,” Jumblatt told reporters in a reference to his recent rejection to link Hezbollah’s use of arms to regional conflicts.

He stressed that he “is not repositioning himself,” adding that, “It is important for people to remember certain issues every once in a while.”

As expected the Hezbollah led March 8 majority rushed to criticize Jumblatt while his former colleagues at March 14 opposition commended him for his remarks

March 8

Change and Reform bloc MP Ziad Aswad on Tuesday criticized Jumblatt, saying that the latter should not “preach” to Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai.

“We do not accept that anyone preaches to the patriarch ,” Aswad added after Jumblatt said that Rai should form a committee of Christian businessmen to prevent the sale of lands “if he is concerned about the Christian presence in Lebanon.”

He also told Akhbar al-Yawm news agency that Jumblatt should “begin by following his own lessons instead of giving them to others.”

The PSP leader told Rai: “If some circles are concerned about the Christian presence in Lebanon, the best way that enables Patriarch Rai, who is entrusted with this presence in Lebanon and in the Levant and has a wide experience in the Church’s work, to follow in this respect is to form a committee of Christian financiers to prevent the sale of [Christian] lands, and probably exploit the Church’s properties to help poor Christians who emigrate to earn their living.”

While Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV was the first to criticize Jumblatt’s remarks and accused him of adopting the views of the Lebanese Forces , Hezbollah MP Mohammad Raad on Tuesday called for “not rushing to judge Jumblatt’s remarks .

“Let us discuss instead the upcoming elections,” Raad added after Jumblatt said on Monday that Lebanon’s defense strategy “must be set to engage Hezbollah’s weapons in the framework of the state.”

Asked whether Jumblatt’s views are “strategic or tactic,” Raad said, “Let us wait until his stances are clarified.”

March 14

National Liberal Party leader MP Dori Chamoun commended on Tuesday the policy adopted lately by Jumblatt.

“Unfortunately, he could have adopted that policy in the first place,” Chamoun told Al-Akhbar al-Yawm news agency.

Chamoun also said that “Jumblatt felt that he can no longer continue on the wrong political track, and had to return to where he came from ( March 14) ”

Regarding the Syrian uprising, Chamoun said that he expects the Syrian regime to fall soon, “which will make Hezbollah lose Syrian support.”

Jumblatt assailed Monday Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai’s controversial statements that linked the fate of Hezbollah’s arms to a Middle East peace settlement, saying Lebanon cannot remain hostage to regional conflicts.

He also disputed Rai’s warning that a regime change in Syria and the possible emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood would pose a threat to the Christians there.

“Linking the fate of Lebanon to the liberation of the Shebaa Farms and linking its future to all the region’s conflicts are rejected,” Jumblatt said in his weekly article in PSP’s weekly newspaper Al-Anbaa

“Therefore, the [Lebanese-Syrian] borders must be demarcated. This demand had been unanimously approved at the National Dialogue [conference] in 2006,” he said.

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