Efforts Intensify in Lebanon to Contain Tension between Hizbollah, Amal
The Lebanese Army questioned four members of the Amal Movement on Monday about a weekend gun battle in Markaba in which two Hizbullah members were killed, amid calls by all sides to contain possible tension in the former occupied zone, reported Daily Star Tuesday.
At the same time, representatives from both parties reiterated their commitment to stop carrying weapons openly in the south, added the Lebanese daily.
At a Syrian-sponsored meeting in Beirut, Sheikh Nabil Qaouk and Tyre MP Ali Khalil, southern commanders of Hizbollah and Amal respectively, reiterated the necessity of maintaining a “positive relationship between the two parties.”
Hizbollah and Amal representatives, who met at the Beirut headquarters of Syrian intelligence at the Beau Rivage Hotel, issued a joint statement after the meeting, said the daily.
The statement repeated expressions of regret over the “painful” accident and reiterated the intention of both parties to cooperate with concerned officials to ascertain the details of the crime.
Both parties also agreed on a series of procedural and media arrangements which would “strengthen the positive relationship between them.”
Saturday’s clash which saw two Hizbollah men killed and several others wounded after members of the two organizations started ripping up election posters of one another’s leaders sparked numerous reactions on Monday, the paper said.
Sheikh Abdel-Amir Qabalan, deputy president of the Higher Shiite Council, was quoted as stressing the state’s responsibility in maintaining security among citizens.
Qabalan, who was speaking after a meeting with Amal’s leader, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, said that the idea of a “conciliatory security arrangement was both wrong and fatal.”
“Under no circumstances should such security matters be left to run on their own. The government should fulfill its duty and responsibility by proving its presence on the security, development and economical levels,” Qabalan said.
The incident on Saturday, the bloodiest between the two groups since Israel withdrew from the south in May, revived calls in the local press for the government to deploy the army in the volatile area.
Qabalan strongly condemned the incident, saying that any justification was rejected and that those who committed the crime should be severely punished.
Also, a delegation of Maronite bishops stressed to Berri the need to consolidate the presence of Lebanese authorities in the South, according to Daily Star.
The stand was underlined by Archbishop Roland Abu Jaoude after a delegation from the Council of the Maronite Bishops visited the speaker.
Abu Jaoude, who is also the deputy to Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, spoke on behalf of the Maronite Patriarch at Nijmeh Square, insisting on the need to see the security services given a greater role in the South until the army is deployed in the region.
“We believe that the ISF and military intelligence staff assigned to handle security matters in the South should be given greater responsibilities so that people are reassured and stay in their homes and villages,” Abu Jaoude was quoted as saying – Albawaba.com
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