Lebanon’s Hizbollah, Jumblatt Move to Cool Tense Ties
After months of tension between Hizbollah and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, the two sides turned a new page on Thursday during a meeting that brought together the Chouf MP and Hizbollah’s secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah, reported the Daily Star Friday.
“After a period of interruption, resulting from particular political circumstances, this meeting with Nasrallah was substantive,” Jumblatt was quotes as saying at Hizbollah’s headquarters in Beirut.
According to the daily, relations strained between Jumblatt and the party since the liberation of the South last year, when Jumblatt openly criticized the party’s plan to recover the Shabaa Farms by force without any consideration for the economic repercussions.
Jumblatt further expressed reservations to Nasrallah’s comments at the one-year memorial for Syrian President Hafez Assad in Qordaha, Syria, where the Hizbollah leader reaffirmed that the resistance would proceed with its attacks until the liberation of the Shabaa Farms and the Golan Heights, irrespective of its impact on the economy.
The controversy further escalated last month during Parliament’s budget debate in which Jumblatt demanded that the government reclaim the money “stolen by security islands” after an argument with Hizbollah MP Ammar Musawi, added the paper.
Sources familiar with the issue said that two actions paved the way for the Jumblatt-Nasrallah meeting, namely the Progressive Socialist Party leader’s recent visit to the Iranian Embassy, and a meeting between Nasrallah and PSP officials Ghazi Aridi and Doreid Yaghi.
After Thursday’s meeting, which lasted more than 90 minutes, Jumblatt told reporters that “many issues” were discussed including “sensitive matters that did not need to be published,” declining to disclose any further details on the talks.
He also said that both leaders agreed on the necessity of proceeding with the “dialogue” despite their differences in opinion.
“It’s true that distance fosters hard feelings,” Jumblatt said. “Dialogue is important even if there are differences in opinion.”
Jumblatt is a hardline opponent of the Syrian presence in Lebanon, while Hizbollah says that a discussion of a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon should be postponed after the occupied Shabaa farms are liberated – Albawaba.com