Hezbollah, Saudi continue to shun discussion of rising tensions

Published April 24th, 2016 - 12:30 GMT
A Hezbollah soldier stands on a hill, surveying land in Northern Lebanon. (AFP/File)
A Hezbollah soldier stands on a hill, surveying land in Northern Lebanon. (AFP/File)

Hezbollah deputy head Sheikh Naim Qassem revealed that there has so far been no contact between the movement and Saudi Arabia to discuss tensions between the party and the Kingdom, which he said could last for more than a year.

“Until now, there has been no contact between Saudi Arabia and Hezbollah" Qassem said in an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency published Sunday. "They haven’t sent anyone to us to discuss relations between us.”

The senior Hezbollah official said Saudi Arabia is the one taking escalatory measures, questioning whether Riyadh will “stop and think of a solution.”

“[Saudi Arabia] thinks that it can affect our stances, but we will remain [in their path] and will not be affected by the pressure,” Qassem added.

He said that he does not believe Saudi Arabia will “take a step back or try to open channels” with his opposing sides.

“The time is not ripe for settlements at the moment. It seems that it will take a bit of time, at least months ahead and it could surpass more than a year," he said when asked about how long the regional crisis will last.

Tensions between Riyadh and Hezbollah have been steadily rising since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in 2011, where the two back opposing sides, and exacerbated by the Saudi-led military campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen launched in March 2015.

Relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia took a heavy blow in February when the Gulf state suspended $4 billion in aid to the Lebanese Army and police over “hostile” stances taken by officials linked to Hezbollah.

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council later classified the Lebanese movement as a "terrorist" organization last month. The Arab League and Islamic Cooperation Organization have taken similar moves in previous months.

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