Lebanese Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi has stressed that relations with the country’s resistance movement Hezbollah play a crucial role in maintaining stability in Lebanon.
In a Thursday interview with Lebanon’s Daily Star, Rifi underlined the significance of ties with Hezbollah in preventing sectarian strife in the country, emphasizing that the resistance group is merely his rival and not an enemy.
“In the end, we’re both entrusted to defuse” sectarian tensions, said the Lebanese justice minister, adding that this is “a moral and ethical obligation” for all political parties in the country.
Rifi said he had been working as a mediator between Hezbollah and Lebanon’s Future Movement since he served as the country’s police chief.
“Although coordination between the party and the Future Movement is now in the hands of the Interior Ministry, I have long coordinated with Hezbollah ever since my days at the Internal Security Forces,” added the minister.
The Lebanese official further touched upon the political stalemate in the parliament over choosing the next president, saying Lebanon is a “country of surprises” and a last-minute deal could be reached to end the deadlock.
On May 7, Lebanese legislators failed for a third time to elect a new leader to replace President Michel Sleiman.
The deadly foreign-backed crisis spilling over into Lebanon from neighboring Syria has left Lebanese lawmakers divided over who their next president should be.
Deputies are faced with a choice between Samir Geagea, an opponent of the Syrian government and Hezbollah resistance movement, and Michel Aoun.