BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri reiterated the need for Lebanon to maintain a true policy of dissociation, while vowing to preserve the country’s political stability and unity in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
With Lebanon bracing itself for Parliamentary elections in May – the first to be held since 2009 – Lebanon’s Premier took a softened stance towards Hezbollah, compared to the charged rhetoric he used when announcing his now rescinded resignation from Saudi Arabia on November 4.
By keeping the door open for Hezbollah to participate in the upcoming Cabinet, Hariri said he hopes that would translate into another inclusive government that “brings political stability to the country.”
Since resuming his duties as prime minister, Hariri praised Hezbollah’s willingness to abide by the dissociation policy resurrected in the wake of his return to Lebanon, thus shielding the country from the broader Saudi-Iranian conflict. Hezbollah is a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia, which along the U.S. classifies the Iranian-backed party as a terrorist group.
“If you saw, media attacks on the Arab world, especially the Gulf, were extremely high, and today it’s extremely low,” Hariri said in reference to previous criticism by Hezbollah officials of Saudi Arabia. “This is something positive,” he added.
Hariri also expressed hope for Hezbollah to fully withdraw from the different Arab conflicts, yet conveyed cautiousness as to when that will actually happen.
“This is going to take time, it’s not going to happen overnight,” Hariri said, adding that the situation in Syria is more complex than in Yemen and Iraq, where the party is involved to a much lesser degree.
“Certain countries that are in Syria today consider Hezbollah as necessary. People who fight with Bashar al-Assad—Russia and Iran—consider them not interfering in Syrian affairs but as being part of that regime solution,” the premier told The Wall Street Journal.
Discussing the ongoing tensions between Hezbollah and Israel, Hariri cautioned against the situation escalating into all out war, as that will inadvertently “strengthen Hezbollah and weaken the state.”
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