MP Hassan Fadlallah of Hizbullah’s Loyalty to Resistance bloc has suggested that certain sides are using Bkirki as a cover to serve their own political agendas, hours after thousands of Lebanese rallied in Bkirki in support of Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi and his latest stances.
“Some parties are hiding behind Bkirki,” Fadlallah said in a TV interview.
“Hizbullah believes that internationalization would pose an existential threat to Lebanon. What has internationalization done in Syria, Libya and Iraq?” the MP added.
“Those who want to cling to the Taef Accord must not invite nations to Lebanon to resolve our crisis, although these nations do not have time for anyone at the moment,” Fadlallah went on to say, stressing that “solutions should begin inside” the country.
He added: “We respect the authority that Bkirki represents to a group of the Lebanese and we do not want any rift between the Lebanese. Some tried to exploit Bkirki to deepen sectarian disillusionment and divides.”
Commenting on al-Rahi’s call for Lebanon’s neutrality, Fadlallah pointed out that ever since 1948, Israel “has not neutralized us in wars and crises,” adding that the jihadist Islamic State group has not also spared Lebanon from its attacks.
“Our policy is not based on boycotts but rather on rapprochement and discussion. We have our evidence and arguments and communication with Bkirki has not been severed,” Fadlallah added.
“There had been direct communication until the coronavirus stage and today there is phone communication,” the lawmaker noted, revealing that “Hizbullah’s leadership” held phone talks with Bkirki two days prior to Saturday’s rally at the seat of the Maronite church.
Earlier this month, al-Rahi had called for a U.N.-sponsored “international conference” in the face of Lebanon’s economic collapse and political impasse.
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah slammed the proposal and similar calls from other parties, saying such moves would open the door to foreign interference or even to an “occupation.”
In a speech to the crowd on Saturday, al-Rahi repeated the call for an international conference, saying that “all we propose is to revitalize the Lebanese state, which is in disarray, broken.”
Al-Rahi is an ardent supporter of Lebanon’s official policy of dissociation from regional conflicts, a position that clashes with Iran-backed Hizbullah’s involvement in the war in Syria.
The demonstrators on Saturday shouted slogans in support of the Lebanese Army and denounced Hizbullah as a “terrorist” group.
“Neutrality, sovereignty, stability,” read one banner hanging on a church facade.
“We came to support the patriarch in his call for neutrality,” Olga Abu Merei told AFP from the rally.
“We want stability, we want our country to stay away from problems and wars.”
Among the objectives of an international conference, al-Rahi said would be “support for the Lebanese Army, so it becomes the only defender of Lebanon.”