Hizbullah, Mustaqbal to Meet amid Tension after Nasrallah Speech

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3 February 2015

The fifth round of dialogue between Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal officials will be preceded by an “important” meeting for al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc after the controversy that erupted following Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech, An Nahar daily reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper said that the “importance” of the bloc’s meeting on Tuesday lies in setting a stance from the “latest developments.”

Several March 14 officials, including al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc leader MP Fouad Saniora, have lashed out at Hizbullah secretary-general Nasrallah after a speech he made on Friday.

Saniora on Saturday described Nasrallah’s remarks as “hasty and unilateral.”

Nasrallah delivered his speech during a ceremony to honor six Hizbullah fighters killed in the Jan. 18 Israeli airstrike on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, in which he announced that the rules of engagement between the resistance and Israel had ended.

Al-Mustaqbal MP Amin Wehbe expected the fifth round of talks between his movement and Hizbullah to discuss Nasrallah’s speech and the party’s role in Syria.

He told al-Joumhouria newspaper that “Hizbullah should hear what the rest of the Lebanese think and how its polices are endangering Lebanon.”

But the lawmaker appeased fears that the talks would break, saying “the more there are differences, the more there is a need to preserve stability in Lebanon.”

“That’s the main purpose of dialogue,” Wehbe added.

Al-Mustaqbal MP Ammar Houri also told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat that Tuesday’s session would be aimed at “putting things in their proper context.”

An Nahar daily quoted ministerial sources as saying that the purpose behind the dialogue was and still is achieving calm and finding common aspects between the two sides.

“There is a decision by both parties to continue the dialogue” despite the tension, the sources added.

Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal officials have been holding talks since December to defuse sectarian tension.

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