Lebanon: Nasrallah blames USA for ongoing presidential crisis
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Druze leader Walid Jumblat have traded accusations over the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon during separate television interviews aired late Wednesday. Nasrallah accused the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority of creating the current presidential crisis by refusing a partnership with the opposition.
It "wants to fully control authority and rejects partnership with the other party ... A veto power means that the opposition becomes a partner (in the future government)," Nasrallah said in a recorded interview aired on NBN TV network. The interview was aired simultaneously by Hizbullah's Al-Manar television.
The Shiite leader said his party supported Army Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman for president to replace Emile Lahoud. But Suleiman's election "will not solve the problem without a national unity government in which the opposition gets a veto power," he said.
Nasrallah also accused the United States of obstructing the presidential vote by telling its allies in the parliamentary majority not to give the opposition a veto power. "As long as there is a U.S. decision not to give the opposition a veto power, this means there won't be a presidential election," he said.
The Hizbullah head also said Paris' mediation with Syria on Lebanon's political deadlock would continue although the two countries broke off contacts over the crisis. But he warned that the opposition would not "remain silent" in face of the ruling coalition's attempts to "monopolize rule.""If this mediation fails, there will not be others, and the opposition will mobilize using all peaceful means possible," he said.
Regarding a possible deal with Israel, Nasrallah said that there were negotiations on two Israeli soldiers captured by Hizbullah in the summer of 2006, and that an outcome could become clear in "two or three weeks."
Jumblat, on his part, said in a live interview with ANB TV, that complying with the opposition's demands means working for the interest of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. According to him, anti-government parties are eying the justice ministry in the future cabinet to obstruct the trial of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's assassins in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. This constitutes "a threat to the tribunal," Jumblat said.
The leader of the Progressive Socialist Party also launched a sharp attack on the Assad regime and described the assassination of Brig. Gen. Francois el-Hajj last month as "a message to all the Lebanese that they don't have the right to choose their president."
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