Lebanon: Druze leader backs Speaker call for national dialogue
Druze leader Walid Jumblat said he backed Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri's call for dialogue and vowed to seek approval for all-party national talks from leaders of the pro-government March 14 bloc. Jumblat described as "excellent" his meeting with Berri at Parliament building on Tuesday.
"The crisis can only be solved through dialogue and with both sides making compromises," Jumblat said in an interview published by the Beirut daily As Safir on Wednesday. Asked whether he believed Berri's call for dialogue was the road to a political settlement, Jumblat said: "This is my personal stance as head of the Democratic Gathering Bloc."
According to the outspoken critic of Damascus, a "unified stand" will be adopted after a meeting of the March 14 alliance. Jumblat said he stressed to Berri the need to resume dialogue based on the various issues that had already been unanimously agreed on.
"If these issues were practically translated through a clear-cut mechanism, then we would have completed our goals regarding border demarcation, establishment of diplomatic ties with Syria and Palestinian arms control," Jumblat said.
Jumblat, however, pointed to the ongoing issues of differences which "can only be solved through dialogue and openness."He said on top of those controversial issues were Hizbullah's arms which "should be dealt with in accordance with local, regional and international conditions, knowing that the weaponry will eventually be brought under the state control."
"Hizbullah should come to a conviction that the state, not Hizbullah weapons alone, protects everybody, including the Shiites," Jumblat conveyed.