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Former Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora

Hezbollah-Future dialogue tackles Resistance Brigades

Source: The Daily Star – BEIRUT: Talks between Hezbollah and the Future Movement have begun touching on the issue of the Hezbollah-linked Resistance Brigades, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said Friday.

Siniora, who is also head of the Future parliamentary bloc, complained that Hezbollah’s Resistance Brigades allows them to “overpower” citizens, and is now one of the issues being discussed in dialogue sessions launched last month.

So far, top officials from Hezbollah and the Future Movement have met on four separate occasions since Dec. 27 in a bid to ease sectarian tensions.

The Resistance Brigades is the military wing of Hezbollah designated for non-Shiites, or for Shiites who do not want to commit to the party’s main military formation.

Siniora accused the party of purchasing and using followers by providing them with arms that would in turn allow them to bully others.

Siniora reiterated the Future Movement’s rejection of Hezbollah arms and expressed hopes that talks could progress positively on that track.

“We hope that the other team (Hezbollah) does not spark any problems,” he said.

Siniora, who had last week offered his condolences to Hezbollah over its six fighters killed in the Jan 18. Israeli airstrike in Syria, denounced Hezbollah’s retaliation two days ago.

Hezbollah Wednesday attacked an Israeli military convoy in the occupied Shebaa Farms, killing two soldiers.

Siniora said Hezbollah’s unilateral decision to launch the attack risked dragging Lebanon into a new war with Israel.

Siniora said he “does not accept in any way that a team of Lebanese would make decisions and carry out actions that implicate all of Lebanon,” especially if these decisions are taken without considering Lebanese consensus and the position of the country’s top institutions.

According to the former premier, Lebanon was spared a major conflict with its southern neighbor because neither Tehran nor Israel were interested in escalation. Israeli officials are too preoccupied with elections while Iran’s reluctance stems from its ongoing involvement in nuclear talks, he said.

Hezbollah, however, can’t always bet on regional circumstances that would ensure restraint, he added, noting that respect for U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 – which ended Lebanon’s 2006 war with Israel – was the only guarantor of peace.

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