No alternative but to launch talks with Hezbollah; Siniora

Published December 28th, 2014 - 08:54 GMT

In a speech inaugurating a street in the capital named after Mohammad Chatah, a former minister who was assassinated on Dec. 27, 2013, Siniora said it was no longer acceptable for a single party to jeopardize civil peace “by involving themselves in foreign or local adventures,” referring to Hezbollah’s role in Syria.

“They ask us why we agreed to launch this dialogue with Hezbollah and [said] that it would be futile like previous ones. ... This does not justify refraining from trying and honestly seeking progress,” Siniora said.

“The other alternative is frightening and only strengthens failure and paralysis and we have the honor to try once again,” added Siniora, a former prime minister.

“Our only option is dialogue and to search for means to strengthen our unity and civil peace.”

Rivals Hezbollah and the Future Movement launched a dialogue Tuesday under the patronage of Speaker Nabih Berri with the aim of containing sectarian tensions that have alarmingly increased as a result of the crisis in neighboring Syria.

The talks will also attempt to find a solution to the presidential deadlock, but participants will not discuss contentious issues such as Hezbollah’s presence in Syria or the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Siniora said the talks were aimed at “paving the way to revive the idea of a Lebanon as a nation; as a strong, just state that has exclusive rights over all of its territory” and its borders.

“It also aims at reactivating and protecting its constitutional institutions and for the state to expand its sovereignty to all of its territory and borders so that no foreign or local party can prevent it from achieving justice,” he said.

Siniora expressed hope that the much-needed dialogue would be “honest, committed to and encouraging, contrary to what some people seek to promote.”

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