Nasrallah claims he met with Qatari envoy
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Tuesday he recently held talks with an envoy from Qatar, the first diplomatic contact between the two sides since differences over the Syrian crisis eroded their once strong relations.
"There is talk between us ... there was a line between us and Qatar which was reopened (recently) but up to a certain limit," Nasrallah said in an interview with Lebanon's OTV television, according to Reuters.
The Hezbollah chief did not elaborate on who the envoy was if they held a senior position, but when asked by the Lebanese interviewer if the meeting had taken place in the last few days, Nasrallah replied: "Yes, it is true. I cannot hide it," Reuters reported.
Prior to the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, Hezbollah - a Shiite Muslim group based in Lebanon - had relatively strong relations with Qatar, especially after the Gulf state funded the rebuilding of many Shiite villages destroyed during the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.
According to Reuters, in 2010 the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, made a tour of south Lebanon, a Hezbollah stronghold, and visited and inaugurated several Qatar-funded projects in the area where fighting with Israel took its biggest toll.
With the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, relations between the two sides soured when Qatar took the side of the rebel forces fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a staunch Hezbollah ally.
Nasrallah told OTV television that he told the Qatari envoy that all military options in Syria were "pointless," as he called for a political solution to the crisis. Western powers have set January 22, 2014 as the tentative date for peace talks between all sides involved in the Syrian war.
Syria's civil war is being fought along sectarian lines that has divided the once peaceful country - the previously soothed divisions between the country's Sunni and Shiite populations have ignited and have drawn the region into the fray. The Sunni-majority Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar have funded and armed the Sunni rebels while Assad, an Alawite (an off-shoot of Shiite Islam) has been largely supported by Iran, who is also allied to Hezbollah.
The nearly three-year-old conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 110,000 people, has displaced millions of Syrians, sparked an all-out humanitarian crisis and has drawn in thousands of fighters from across the globe.