BEIRUT: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah blamed the delays in forming a new Cabinet on the lack of "standard based on the parliamentary election results," while casting aside accusations that his party is seeking a swift formation of the Cabinet due to "fears over regional developments."
Nasrallah's comments came during a televised address where he called for "equal representation of all political parties based on the recent parliamentary election results."
"If the standard is not the parliamentary results, then we should be aware of that," he said, before maintaining that his bloc, alongside Amal, will not rule out demanding more than six ministries. Hezbollah, alongside its Shiite allies Amal, secured 30 seats during the May 6 parliamentary elections.
Touching on the Syrian refugee crisis, Nasrallah reiterated that those who elected to return did so of their own accord without any form of pressure while blaming "international organizations of intimidating them."
On Thursday, dozens of Syrian refugees, who had been living in Arsal, Baalbek, departed Lebanon after requesting permission from the Lebanese and Syrian governments.
About 470 Syrians crossed the border, making their way back to Syria after years of exile as result of the bloody civil war.
Nasrallah said his party is willing to play a leading role in facilitating the return of refugees given its close relationship with the Syrian government, vowing to form committees in order to draft lists of individuals seeking to return to be presented to Syrian authorities in coordination with Lebanon's General Security.
Lebanon has been feuding with the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil accusing the refugee agency of attempting to dissuade refugees from returning through fearmongering.
Nasrallah also discussed the recent naturalization decree that stirred nationwide controversy due to its lack of transparency, saying that his party "had no prior knowledge of its existence."
The bill is laden with allegations of bribery and corruption as it grants the Lebanese nationality to a large number of wealthy GCC nationals including Palestinians and businessmen from the Americas and Europe, as well as Syrian President Bashar Assad loyalists.
Nasrallah did acknowledge however that he has "information regarding some of the names but will refrain from discussing them out of respect to Michel Aoun's presidency."
The Hezbollah leader also denied certain media reports alleging that eight Hezbollah fighters have recently perished in Yemen, labelling the claims a ludicrous.
"If one day that does happen, we will proudly confirm them," he said.
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