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nasrallah 021217Hezbollah’s Secretary General   Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech Sunday that having an “idiot” in the White House makes the group optimistic, a reference to President  Donald Trump.

“We are very optimistic that when an idiot settles in the White House and boasts about his idiocy, this is the beginning of relief for the oppressed around the world,” Nasrallah said  in a televised address commemorating the late Hezbollah official Sheikh Hussein Obeid.

The United States has designated the Iranian backed Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist organization.

Hia  comments come after US Defense Secretary James Mattis called Iran “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world” in his first comments on the country

The Trump administration imposed fresh sanctions over an Iranian ballistic missile test.

Iran and the United States have engaged in tit-for-tat exchanges since US President  Trump signed an executive order January 27 banning nationals temporarily from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States. Iran was among those countries.

Syria cease fire

Nasrallah said  Hezbollah strongly supports a cease-fire agreement in Syria and an end to bloodshed in the neighboring country and blasted Arab satellite outlet campaigns against his party  that accuse it  of working against diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.

He denied  that the party had rejected the Astana peace talks.

“We [support] an agreement that ends the bloodshed and paves way for a national reconciliation [in Syria].”

Rival Syrian factions met in the Kazakh capital last month for peace talks sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

The talks were expected to see the first face-to-face negotiations between the government and the armed opposition since the conflict erupted in 2011, in which about 500,000 people have died.

The next round of Astana talks, set for Feb. 15 and 16, will discuss the cease-fire and stabilization measures for specific areas and other “practical steps” ahead of the talks in Geneva, Kazakhstan.

 

Syrian refugees

Nasrallah called on the Lebanese government  to engage in a positive dialogue with Syrian regime  over the refugee crisis.

He expressed his party’s readiness to mediate between the  Lebanese state” and the Syrian  regime  on the matter.

“It’s our duty to deal with the case of the refugees in a humanitarian, rather than political manner,” he said.

Nasrallah also called for cooperation toward repatriating Syrian refugees back to their homeland.

Lebanon is currently hosting around 1.5  million Syrian refugees .

“Lebanon cannot resolve the crisis on its own. It should put aside its stubbornness,” Nasrallah said, urging politicians not to exploit the refugee crisis to beg for money and aid.

Electoral law

Nasrallah also addressed   electoral law  issue

“We want a fair electoral law that allows everyone to be represented at the Parliament.”

“We have a serious desire to block any new extension for the current parliament  and to hold timely elections,” Nasrallah said.

He reiterated that the proportional voting system “gives everyone their real size and [guarantees] their right.”

“Hezbollah supports proportionality because its keen to preserve the rights of all sects, parties and minorities,” he said in reference to  the Druze sect, the Progressive Socialist Party and the Future Movement.

He warned rivals against “wasting more time .

“Stop wasting time,” he said, stressing that Hezbollah was “open to all dialogue and [would] not shut the door.”

Lebanese parties are divided on the characteristics of the new electoral law that will govern the upcoming elections.

The current 1960 winner-takes-all law was used in the last elections in 2009

Stability 

Nasrallah hailed the relative stability and security in Lebanon “despite all the hardships, difficulties and the fire raging in the region and Syria.”

“Stability is a blessing  that [the Lebanese] should hold onto, maintaining firmly and not waste,” he said

He praised cooperation between security agencies and the Lebanese Army, calling on the public to avoid moves that would put stability at risk.

Lebanese security agencies have recently worked to avert several extremist attacks, mainly in Beirut.

Taxes

Nasrallah also discussed the 2017 state budget, rejecting attempts to impose new taxes that negatively impact the poor.

“End embezzlement, corruption, wasting money and [unauthorized] spending [instead],” he said.

“[A] courageous political decision should be taken to cut down [unnecessary] spending,” he added. “This matter isn’t open for debate.”

The Cabinet is currently studying a budget proposal by Finance Minister Ali Hasan. His draft budget calls for a series of new taxes to finance a higher salary scale for civil servants, a demand spearheaded by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and backed by teachers’ unions.

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