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Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour who is a key member of the Progressive Socialist Party ( PSP) defended party leader MP Walid Jumblatt’s recent comments about Hezbollah’s arms on Sunday, National News Agency (NNA) reported

“Jumblatt’s principles are known. He believes in preserving civil peace, national balance and protecting Lebanon’s power elements, including the arms of the Resistance against Israel, until an agreement is reached between all the Lebanese over the national defense strategy ,” NNA quoted him as saying.

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.

“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 last Tuesday.

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

Speaking to reporters in Paris and in an interview with Al-Arabiya satellite channel during his one-week visit to France last week, Rai linked the fate of Hezbollah’s arms to the termination of Israeli occupation of Lebanese territory and the return of an estimated 350,000 Palestinian refugees to their homes in Palestine. He urged the international community to exert pressure on Israel to withdraw from Lebanese territory.

Rai also said that Syrian President Bashar Assad should be given a chance to carry out political reforms in the face of protesters demanding his ouster. He also warned that the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria posed a threat to the Christians there.

Rai’s remarks drew harsh criticisms from some March 14 politicians who said that the patriarch’s comments on the divisive issue of Hezbollah ran contrary to the concept of state building and contradicted with the Maronite Church’s long-standing position in support of state authority.

Condemns attack against ISF

Abu Faour also reiterated his condemnation of Friday’s assault against an Internal Security Forces Information Branch patrol near the Jalala Bridge in Chtoura , Beqaa valley and called for ending political accusations against the force.

The minister described the attack as “an unprecedented provocation,” adding that “the Lebanese people feel that the concept of the state is deteriorating.”

Abu Faour said that “the government must provide political cover for the security forces to carry out their duties,” adding that the “media campaign waged against them” must stop.

Hezbollah and its main ally FPM leader MP Michel Aoun have launched an unprecedented media campaign against the leader of ISF and the information branch leader. The campaign intensified following the jail sentence against retired General Fayez Karam over spying for Israel. Karam who is a senior member of FPM was recently sentenced to 2 years in prison for collaborating with Israel

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