`Hezbollah ready to join national dialogue`
Beirut: Lebanese Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah on Friday voiced support to President Michel Suleiman`s call for the resumption of national dialogue sessions without preconditions as of the second week of June.
Nasrallah`s position came as he delivered a speech through a giant screen during his party`s celebration of the "Resistance and Liberation Day" in the border town of Bint Jbeil.
Nasrallah criticised the March 14 coalition for setting demands on returning to negotiations. He said, "I officially announce today that Hezbollah agrees to a return to the national dialogue table without preconditions."
He added "as for those who want the Cabinet to resign first before engaging in dialogue, they seek power but not dialogue" in reference to the opposition`s demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
Nasrallah thanked regional and Lebanese officials for their efforts in the release of a group of Lebanese Shi`ite pilgrims who were abducted in Syria on Tuesday. "I thank President Michel Suleiman, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and former prime minister Saad Hariri who devoted special efforts in this regard," he said.
He also thanked Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for securing the return of women and elderly members of Shi`ite pilgrims who were spared by the kidnappers earlier in the week.
Nasrallah affirmed the positive role of Army, for "the last institution that is able to protect civil peace is the Lebanese Army along with its security agencies."
The Hezbollah chief held some political leaders and media responsible for stirring sectarian tensions. He warned that if sectarian tensions continued to be provoked, political leaders would not be able to control the behaviour of people in the streets.
As for the role of Hezbollah, Nasrallah said his party’s arsenal was solely directed at Israel and that the state alone had the prerogative of safeguarding internal security and the safety of citizens.
Recalling the years under Israeli occupation, Nasrallah said many Lebanese civilians in the border towns were forced to hold arms given the absence of political authority in the south.
“People were forced to buy weapons ... the state did not protect its land or people, nor did it put efforts to try and liberate its land," he added.